Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fun Stuff in Minnesota!

...update from fivethirtyeight. 59 seats for Dems hangs in the balance of this last senate race. 58 is awesome (we should always be able to get a couple republicans voting our way on almost anything; a virtual lock), but 59? Wow. That would rule. Looking like mid-January now, before we know winner; if then...

Franken May Be Ceding Ground on Absentee Ballots

In St. Louis County, one of the bluest areas in Minnesota, the Coleman campaign succeeded in blocking more than a third of absentee ballots set aside by the state for potentially being wrongfully rejected from being counted -- including one ballot from an elections judge. Per the Star Tribune:

DULUTH - Shirley Graham was astonished to learn that a lawyer from Norm Coleman's campaign on Tuesday blocked her absentee ballot from being added to the U.S. Senate recount.

"I'm an election judge," said Graham, of Duluth. "I expected to be the last person whose ballot wouldn't be counted."

Her sealed ballot was among 60 from St. Louis County that were blocked by representatives of Coleman and Al Franken during the first day of a statewide review of absentee ballots that may have been wrongly rejected in last month's election. Under a state Supreme Court ruling, local election officials and the two campaigns must all agree that a ballot was wrongly rejected for it to be sent along to St. Paul for inclusion in the recount.

Coleman's camp, which rejected 59 of the 60 ballots set aside Tuesday in St. Louis County, objected to Graham's ballot on the grounds that the date next to her signature did not match the date next to the signature of her witness, Jack Armstrong.
There are a couple of things in the preceding paragraphs that the Franken campaign ought to be worried about. Firstly, quite a high percentage of absentee ballots were rejected -- 60 out of what had been reported yesterday to be 161 ballots under consideration in St. Louis County, or 37 percent. All but one of those objections were made by the Coleman campaign. Secondly, the Coleman campaign is getting away with blocking ballots for asinine reasons. In the case cited above, for instance, the ballot was rejected because the date provided by the voucher did not match the date the date provided by the voter. Not only is there no requirement that the dates of the signatures match -- there is no requirement that the signatures are dated, period.

Now, it's not clear that the Franken campaign can do much about the Coleman campaign blocking any one individual ballot, since the process that the Minnesota Supreme Court set up essentially gives either campaign a unilateral veto on any ballot they do not want counted. The risk to Franken is that the Coleman folks will be applying one standard in St. Louis County, where the average absentee ballot would probably help Franken, but another (more liberal) one in Dakota County, where Coleman won the plurality of votes. If Coleman is blocking 37 percent of the ballots in blue counties and not blocking any at all in red counties, then it is far from clear that Franken will succeed in gaining ground from the absentee ballot phase and in fact the opposite might turn out be true.

The Franken could take one obvious counter-measure: move to reject a high percentage of absentees in red counties. Perhaps they have been doing that; reporting has pretty sporadic between all the different counties where this process is taking place, so we really don't know.

For the time being, however, they seem inclined to play it cool and maintain the moral highground, perhaps believing that they'll have a strong argument on Equal Protection grounds if they need to contest the election later on.

From my vantage point, Franken could possibly have played his hand more strongly on Monday, once it became clear that the Coleman campaign was making no pretense whatsoever of attempting to establish an objective, statewide standard for the counting of absentees, essentially just cherry-picking ballots and daring the Franken campaign to call them on it. The result of that process was that no statewide standards were agreed upon, enabling either campaign to apply different standards across different counties.

The upshot of all of this is that Franken probably now has grounds to contest the election if at any point he falls behind, either after the vote is certified or, as is somewhat more likely, following a successful Coleman challenge on the question of duplicate ballots.

Statement from spacejace (see post below this for context)

Look folks, sometimes it just comes down to surviving. Sometimes a thousands-year history of religious warring and idealogical battling (along with who actually "started it") takes a back seat to living or dying. This is what the Israelis are facing as we speak. FACT: Hamas - also known as the "Palestinian government" - earlier this month, unprovoked, launched a barrage of missles into the Israel civilian population. That is a fact. We're not debating that.

I strongly believe the very good Palestinian people wish their government had not done this. The Palestinian people are just as sick to death of all the death as Israeli's are. Palestinians didn't vote for this government like we vote for ours. There were a litany of things beyond their control involved in the last Palestinian election, but suffice it to say, they didn't have much choice; they were strong-armed and lied to, among other things, and the outcome was never really in doubt. If the Palestinian people or the "Palestinian Authority" could remove Hamas (and the other terrorist factions actually running the country) they would. I sincerely believe that. Perhaps they'll be able to take a more active role in the future. But it's important we give ve the Palenstinian people the benefit of the doubt.

So, where does this leave us? it's simple, really. Very simple. As simple as 2+2=4. I'll explain:

1. Bad people (Hamas, Hezballoh, Iran, others) who want to cause chaos, terrorize and inflict death on innocent civilians in Israel launch hundreds of missles to achieve those goals (let's not forget: Iran is [f]actually suppying the aforementioned with money, weapons and resources because they have stated outright - nothing ambiguous here! - "all of Israel must perish!")
2. Israel, wanting to stop the indiscriminate killing of their people - and who have a lot of firepower on their side - decide they need to stop the bad people from doing this.
3. So they launch an offensive (wishing sincerely they didn't have to) to stop those people, since NO ONE else wants to, or is caple of doing so (including the Palestinian people, who want peace).

See? Simple.

Lots of people will die. Good people, bad people, innocent people; all kinds of people. People from many different countries, from many different terrorist factions; people from all sides.

At THIS PRECISE point in time, it's not about a palestinian state, religion, who started it way back when, and any other myriad of dynamics involved and unsolved. I can assure you in due time, a peace process addressing these issues will be discussed and implemented during an Obama administration, led by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (you go grrrlfriend!); but for now, it's about surviving (by the way, why haven't more people noticed that the Bush administration 100%, absolutely ignored this problem for his entire 8 years as President? Bush literally couldn't have cared less). Israel is fighting back to save their people. They are targeting ONLY the terrorists and quite honestly, I am AMAZED at the precautions Israel is taking (and has taken) to avoid civialian deaths (the exact opposite of what Hamas/the Palestinian Government does when attacking Israel); it's unprecedented. Research the precautions Israel takes and the techonology they use to do this on your own; you'll be amazed, I assure you.

I've often said that Israel has shown great restraint over the last couple of decades in their dealings with Palestine. The fact is, if Israel did not care about the Palestinian people, they could take care of the problem once and for all by decimating the entire country fairly quickly, a couple of months actually. They have chosen not to do that for as long as I've been alive. If I hear one more analyst or writer talk about a "disproportianate response" with regards to Israel's military action (this happened often when Hezballoh/Lebanon decided to indsicriminatley send missles to kill civilians into Israel a couple of years ago), I don't know what I'm gonna do. Listen: there is no such thing as a "disproportianate response" in war folks. I got news for you: when it gets down to bottom-bottom lines like "live or die," there are no rules. None.

It sucks for the innocent Palestinian people.
It sucks for the innocent Israeli people.
The irony is, this is what Hamas wants.

The killing and madness continues. Loop SO not closed....

Statement from Shimon Peres

Israel's President Shimon Peres, On the Attacks in Gaza (several days ago)

President Peres:
"It is the first time in the history of Israel that we, the Israelis, cannot understand the motives or the purposes of the ones who are shooting at us. It is the most unreasonable war, done by the most unreasonable warriors.

The story is simple. Israel has left Gaza completely, out of our own free will, at a high cost. In Gaza there is no single Israeli civilian or soldier. They were evacuated from Gaza, our settlements, which called for a very expensive cost. We had to mobilize 45,000 policemen to take out our settlers from there. We spent $2.5 billion. The passages were open. Money was sent to Gaza. We suggested aid in many ways - economically, medically, and otherwise. We were very careful not to make the lives of the civilian people in Gaza difficult. Still I have not heard until now a single person who could explain to us reasonably: why are they firing rockets against Israel? What are the reasons? What is the purpose?

And I must say also that the phenomenon about Israel is the restraint of the army and the unity of the people. The army waited and waited; the Palestinians asked for a ceasefire, and we agreed. They themselves have violated the ceasefire. Again, we didn't know why, until it came to a point where we were left without a choice but to bring an end to it. The operation was planned carefully and the army was true to its principles: namely, to be precise in its targets and careful not to hit civilian life. There is a problem because many of the bombs were stored in private houses. We have contacted the owners of the houses, the people that dwell there, and told them leave it. You can't live with bombs. We have to bring an end to the source of the bombs.

Israel doesn't have any ambition in Gaza. We left out of our free choice. We have never gone back to the idea of returning to Gaza. It's over. But we cannot permit that Gaza will become a permanent base of threatening and even killing children and innocent people in Israel for God knows why. I feel that in our hearts, we don't have any hatred for the Gazan people. Their suffering doesn't carry any joy in our hearts. On the contrary, we feel that the better they will have it, better neighbors we shall have. Now that Hamas is turning to the Arab world for help, the truth is that the Arab world has to turn to Hamas for the help of Hamas. If Hamas will stop it, there is no need for any help. Everything can come again to normalcy. Passages: open; economic life: free; no Israeli intervention; no Israeli participation in any of the turnarounds in Gaza.

As a nation, we feel united. As a nation, there is wholehearted support for the army, the way they handled it, their restraint, their discrimination, and their responsibility. The great winner can be reason, and reason will lead to peace. We are very serious, in a serious mood. Many of our children are still in the shelters, and we would like them, like the children of Gaza, to breathe fresh air again. This is the story, and whoever asks us to stop shooting - they have to change the address. Let them turn to Hamas and ask them to stop shooting, and there won't be shooting. Thank you very much."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eagles at Vikings

thoughts/prediction on the Eagles/Vikings match-up this Sunday afternoon...

I like the Birds to beat MIN this weekend. I actually think they have a few matchups that are good. I think our special teams are better, as well as both kickers and both returners. I think our coaching is SLIGHTLY better, due to MorningWheig being in there an a bigger part of the playcalling lately (running more because of him I say), and perhaps it helps a little he used to be in that division, I don't know. MN's passing game is terrible. JJ MUST gameplan for their kickass run. He's been VERY weak at this this season (San Fran, Washignton, CHI? - there was another one); he can't have a weak outing like that. Plus, MIN passing game is so weak, he can afford to keep a safety, linebacker, etc up in the box to play the run. Seriously, this is perhaps our best matchup, allowing him to stack the box against the run. Of course, the biggest thing on our offense is ESTABLISHING THE RUN. It's fine with me if they go to pass, pass, pass, once they're up by two scores...but they HAVE to get up by two scores first in this case. And they have to run the ball to open up the passing game. I know this KILLS Reid, but he's been decent doing it as of late, and he HAS to do this early on. This will help us not turn the ball over, will rest our defense, give our O-Line the 'aggressive' position right off, control the clock, and put Donovan and others in the "best position to make plays," like reid talks about but rarely ever does.

I like us to beat the Vikings by about 10 or 11 points. I'll go with this:
Eagles 24
Vikings 13

Let me reiterate however: if Reid goes back to his usual ways (gets away from what actually works) and abandons the run completely, like he did in the Cincy game, then my prediction shall forever be rescinded.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Christmas (whichever one you observe), Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, (various)New Years, and any other timely holiday/celebration/observance....


Peace to you and yours in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

color me confused...

Below is an article from Salon on Obama's extremely surprising move. VERY rare are the times I can't get my head around something. Now is one of those times.

How the hell did Rick Warren get inauguration tickets?

Barack Obama knows liberals are upset he picked the conservative evangelical preacher to pray at the inauguration. And he doesn't care.
By Mike Madden

Dec. 19, 2008 |

For more than two years, cozying up to Rick Warren has been one of Barack Obama's favorite ways of showing evangelical Christians that he might not be so scary, after all -- and for just as long, palling around with Obama every once in a while has been Warren's way of trying to show more secular-minded people that he's not so bad, either.

So about the only thing less surprising than the outrage that news of Warren's selection to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration is prompting among gay activists, liberals and Obama supporters generally is probably Warren's appearance on the program in the first place. Obama and Warren have often used each other to demonstrate that they'll be willing to listen to people they disagree with -- and yes, also to let everyone know that they'll be willing to anger their friends. This isn't one of those political controversies that pop up out of nowhere without warning; whether they want to admit it or not, it seems Obama's advisors brought on this fight with his own supporters knowing full well what was coming.

Having Warren speak at the inauguration might make more sense for Obama, now that he's been elected, than going to Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum in August in search of evangelical votes did from a campaigning standpoint. When the ballots were counted he only did marginally better among white evangelicals than Gore and Kerry; the idea now, apparently, is to signal that Obama will be a president for all Americans, whether they voted for him on Nov. 4 or not.

Except that Warren, by this point, isn't just the purpose-driven friendly face of evangelical Christianity anymore. He took sides, very publicly, in favor of California's Proposition 8, which overturned the state's gay marriage law. "About 2 percent of Americans are homosexual, or gay and lesbian, people," Warren said in a widely circulated video (and in a virtually identical e-mail to his congregation) before the election. "We should not let 2 percent of the population determine to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years. This is not just a Christian issue, this is a humanitarian issue." Prior to that, his late summer Civil Forum, at which he interviewed McCain and Obama, was seen by many liberals as an ambush. Instead of sticking to questions on areas where Warren truly has broken from some religious conservatives, like climate change, the importance of alleviating poverty and preventing HIV transmission, Warren drew Obama and John McCain into a discussion of old-school social conservative hot-button issues: the definition of marriage and whether life begins at conception. Days later, he turned around and blasted Obama's answers on abortion rights, comparing being pro-choice to denying the Holocaust.

But Obama was determined to defend his pick Thursday, and he set out the pro-Warren talking points himself, when a reporter brought it up at his now all-but-daily press conference in Chicago. "A couple of years ago, I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion," he said. "Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak. And that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about -- that we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."

Translated out of press-conference-speak, though, that basically means: "I know you're upset. Too bad." Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for Obama's inauguration committee and a senior advisor during the campaign, told Salon later that picking Warren "was not a political decision," which is usually the surest sign that something was exactly that. Obama aides wouldn't go into the decision-making process that led to Warren's selection, but Douglass admitted they predicted some of the fury it caused ahead of time. "People don't go into these kinds of decisions unaware that there might be some criticism, but on the other hand, the overriding goal, again, was this message of inclusivity," she said.

The problem is, many liberals, and gay activists, especially, are wondering exactly who was being included. "It's a symbolic role," said Brad Luna, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. "[Warren's] job there is to kind of represent the spiritual totality of our nation. When that sort of person is put there, it definitely makes our community stop and think, 'Wow, are we part of the fabric of this inclusive new day, as we thought?'" The Human Rights Campaign issued an open letter criticizing Obama's choice on Wednesday. The fact that Obama, too, sees Warren's role as symbolic only made things worse. "We certainly know that Obama disagrees with Warren on gay rights issues, and we know that saying the prayer is not the same as setting policy," said Peter Montgomery, a spokesman for People for the American Way. "We certainly have great hopes for positive change in the Obama administration. The question is really elevating, to this place of singular honor, someone who has so recently trashed part of the community."

Making matters worse, the Obama team evidently decided not to alert anyone who was likely to be upset about the pick ahead of time. News of Warren's involvement in the inauguration came out of the congressional committee working on the inauguration instead of from Obama's own inaugural committee, a wholly separate entity. At least initially, aides for Obama's inaugural committee said the decision had come from Congress, not Obama. In fact, that wasn't the case at all. "That was solely the choice of the president-elect," said Gil Duran, a spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the congressional committee. Obama's staff sent explicit orders for whom to include in the inaugural ceremony up to Capitol Hill, since Congress is, technically, in charge of that part of the day. "Sen. Feinstein obviously disagrees with the views of Rev. Warren on issues that affect the gay and lesbian community," Duran said. "However, Sen. Feinstein respects the president-elect's prerogative to select a cleric to deliver the invocation." (That one doesn't need any translation -- Feinstein's office was politely, respectfully, throwing Obama under the bus.)

Warren's spokesman, A. Larry Ross, told Salon Obama had contacted Warren to invite him, not the other way around. In a statement, Warren said, "I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn’t agree on every issue, to offer the invocation at his historic inaugural ceremony." But so far, say both Obama aides and his critics, there hasn't been much of a similar attempt to reach out to key allies who are upset about the pick and patch things up.

Obama hasn't even taken office yet, and it's already clear that he doesn't hold grudges (file Warren, Rick, somewhere behind Lieberman, Joe, on the list of people Obama has refused to seek revenge against for campaign-related slights). He's also determined to carry his post-partisan rhetoric from the trail all the way into the White House, and he seems to believe he can lead the country to a new united, consensus-driven politics. But first, he may need to find a way to convince everyone else on his side that that approach is the right one.

no inauguration for spacejace...

Dear Mr. spacejace,

Thank you again for contacting my office in regards to Inauguration Tickets. The upcoming Inauguration Ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama is expected to bring many hundreds of thousands of people to the greater Washington, DC area to enjoy this historic event.

My office received over 4,000 requests for tickets for the Inauguration Ceremony, but unfortunately, the allocation we will receive is for less than 200 tickets. To fairly share this limited number of tickets, we have used a lottery to distribute the tickets randomly to constituents. Unfortunately, your name was not one of the randomly-selected winners.

I would have liked to be able to invite each and every constituent to Washington, DC to view the event live, but obviously I could not do so. Regardless, I hope that everyone will be able to participate in the Inaugural Ceremony in their homes, somewhere in Washington, DC, or at other events that may take place throughout the local area.

Thank you for thinking of me and my office when you reach out for help, as I will continue to address your concerns. I look forward to serving you and our district this coming Congressional term.

Congressman Joe Sestak
Pennsylvania's 7th District

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"that's the spirit!" part I

Today I managed to get my first, real, "hey, the next couple of weeks just might be fun" feeling! I was in a local starbucks and was buying gift cards for my kid's teachers/day care providers (great idea my wife had!). Their teachers are great and we're so appreciative of them! So I was deciding between 3 different credit-card sized gift cards, one cuter/cooler than the next, and then I had to decide on the type of holder the card went in. A red fabric pouch with a reindeer on it or a red knitted mitted? Cool! So I finally suss this out, and I order a quad venti latte and ask, "does anyone ever order 5, 6, or 7 shots?" The Baristress(?) answers, "oh, 8 is the most-common number of shots I get!," dude behind counter answers, "oh I made a 12-er once!," and yet another employee yells, "I made one once that was ALL shots; it was ONLY SHOTS!" I ponder that for a few seconds, then make a terribly dumb mistake and head out without my bag-full of gift cards (9 in all, not cheap) and coffee beans. As I'm practically out the door, a young woman says, "you forgot your bag!" I was just like, "that rules. wow. thank you so much." I was relieved to the core; for the pain I didn't have to endure.

And that's when it hit me: the Christmas spirit! People were smiling. I was buying things. people were helping; nice. a quad latte. people were cheery; fun. and they were saving my ass (ie: money).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

...and the fun continues in Minnesota!

...good grief. the Minnesota re-count for Senator continues, and this event is truly a lesson in politics. And no one that I've seen up to this point has done a better job detailing the nuts and bolts of this improbable and very interesting race, than the journalists, analysts, writers and reporters from FiveThirtyEight, my favorite new political site/blog. When it comes to election analysis and talent, they're tops (their polls and charts are just ill). Check them out, for real! following is one of today's posts by Nate Silver....

Coleman v. Minnesota Canvassing Board

This afternoon, Minnesota's Supreme Court will take up Norm Coleman's request (PDF) to stop the counting of so-called "fifth-pile" absentee ballots in Minnesota. These are ballots that initially were rejected by the counties, but that upon further review appear to have been rejected for invalid reasons. Finding some way to preclude these ballots from being counted might represent Coleman's best chance for victory, since the evidence points toward Franken picking up a significant number of votes if and when such ballots are included.

Coleman is making essentially two arguments in his legal brief:

1) That the Canvassing Board does not have the jurisdiction to count such ballots (rather, he claims, authority to do so rather rests solely with the courts), and,
2) That counting such ballots under the recommendation of the Canvassing Board would violate the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, since the different counties are apparently using different procedures in attempting to count them.

Coleman's complaint is well-written and, on its surface, fairly reasonable. However, it is not clear how much good it will ultimately do him.

It seems clear enough that, as Coleman's complaint suggests, the Canvassing Board does not have the authority to require that the "fifth pile" ballots be counted. However, the Canvassing Board has not required that these ballots be included. Instead, it has merely recommended to the counties that they re-evaluate such ballots, and notified them that they will accept new vote tallies from them if they elect to do so.

The problem with this, Coleman's complaint alleges, is that the counties are applying inconsistent procedures in counting the "fifth pile" ballots. Most fundamentally, some counties are in the process of counting them, while others have chosen not to do so. Coleman contends that this violates Equal Protection, and cites Bush v. Gore as his principal point of case law. It is not fair, Coleman contends, that some counties might treat the same ballot differently from another one.

Coleman's lawsuit, however, runs into a couple of significant problems.

Firstly, if Equal Protection is being violated by the "fifth pile" process, then one can also plausibly argue that Equal Protection was violated in the initial accounting of such ballots, since some counties were apparently applying different standards to determine what did and did not constitute a legal ballot in the first place. In Duluth, for example, local officials had been rejecting any absentee ballots that did not have a date next to their signature, before discovering that this is not a valid reason for rejecting a ballot under Minnesota law.

Coleman's more fundamental problem, however, is that it is not clear what kind of remedy the court could provide him with. The most obvious remedy would not be to throw out the fifth pile ballots in their entirety, but rather to set up a process wherein such ballots are counted uniformly from county to county. One should remember that, in Florida in 2000, the recount was brushing up against a state-mandated deadline for certification of the vote (in Bush v Gore, the court did not rule against Gore so much as it declined to intervene as his clock ran out). In Minnesota, however, there appears to be no specific deadline for completing the recount, and so such a concern would not apply. If the state needs to take a little longer to see that every vote is counted, then it probably will.

It is also less than clear that Coleman would stand to benefit if such a comprehensive and consistent review of absentee ballots took place. On the contrary, to the extent that Franken expects to benefit from having the absentee ballots counted, he would probably prefer that more rather than fewer counties do so. Moreover, among the counties that have declined to count their fifth pile ballots is Ramsey (St. Paul), which is among the bluest counties in the state and a huge source of potential gains for Franken.

Coleman, then, seems to be adopting something of an underwear gnomes strategy:

1. Force Franken to go to court to get the absentee ballots counted;
2. ???
3. Profit!

Coleman could very conceivably win his lawsuit, but have it work to his ultimate detriment if the end result is a more complete and comprehensive review of the absentee ballots. Until and unless Coleman comes up with some arguments why the rejected absentee ballots should not be counted at all, he is likely spinning his wheels, regardless of what the court rules today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On futility, or, a silver lining.

"Cleveland Browns Football" is beginning to sound oxymoronic. I'm happy the Eagles won last night, I like the team and root for them to make the postseason, but by the same token it's painful to be a diehard Browns fan. Thankfully, they only play every four years.

Time to clean house.

It's apparent that Romeo Crennell, his staff, and the GM Phil Savage have lost the team. You can say, "players have to make the plays," or "there's major injury trouble there," but in the end solid coaching and foresight in a front office overcome these difficulties. Great teams are well-managed from the owner down to the locker room custodian. The Browns simply are not.


How does Joe Thomas make the starting Pro Bowl roster and Josh Cribbs doesn't? Thomas got his shit kicked in last night. He looked like a high schooler. Cribbs was, in contrast, not utilized enough, but should be on anyone's starting roster. Meanwhile, Shaun Rogers is, well, Shaun Rogers. The guy you do not want charging up the middle after your QB.

Ask McNabb.

Go Eagles!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some Baseball

Well, the Yankees (aka, the Great Satan) have landed CC Sabathia for 7 years and $161 million, and they're still after AJ Burnett. Talk about a bailout!

Thankfully, the Tribe appears poised to sign Kerry Wood, who, if he manages to remain unbroken for an entire season, will finally provide the back end of a bullpen sorely in need of a back end of a bullpen. In addition, it looks as though Jhonny (wtf is up with how I spell my name?) Peralta is doing well at the hot corner in winter ball, opening up the possibility for Asdrubal (natural shortstop) Cabrera to move to the hole, and giving Josh ("what's this long stick for, again?") Barfield another chance to rise to the occasion of making a major league roster.

Please, oh, please (deity of your choice) let it be true. After all, it's always next season in Cleveland.

"History Will Judge..."

Those of us left-of-center types have been saying this for going on eight years: "Worst. President. Ever." We've been joined in more recent years by many of our not-quite-so-liberal friends from the middle, and even a few authentic conservatives who recognize that the neocon/christofascist alliance of the GOP has run their party into a ditch. Thus, polling such as the NBC/WSJ numbers that just came out:

George W. Bush: Mr. 20%

In spite of the Rovian campaign currently organized to polish the Shrub's "legacy," I submit that history will judge #43 as not much more than a useful idiot, readily doing the bidding of his handlers and the neocon cabal that actually made the decisions of "the Decider."

That swagger of his has long ceased to seem authentic, and Mr. Bush in recent months has even seemed to me to have reached a point of realization about his tenure. Since I can't find it in my liberal heart to truly hate, my reaction is to re-humanize him, such that I sense a profound regret despite his outward talk of "no regrets." Perhaps there is enough native intelligence behind the beady eyes to realize that he - as well as a nation - was horribly used by others, that this past eight-year orgy of imperialism and suppression was planned well in advance of his arrival; that, indeed, his arrival was part of the plan. For that, I feel sorry for him. (But I'm not losing sleep over it.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Orlando & Miranda

So, they've been dating a while now, and there are rumors they're engaged. Quite the good looking couple, no? Thought I'd throw a "what if?"/fantasy-world poll out there for both of them. See sidebar on left for pic of each and poll question...

Giant Misunderstanding

by Lee Russakof

After playing their two best games in back-to-back must-wins, the Eagles’ bandwagon is filling up and the calls for Andy Reid’s head have been silenced.

Call me crazy, but I’m going against the tide (shocker) and saying this: The last two games shouldn’t save Reid’s job—they should be the final nails in his coffin.

The 7-5-1 Birds went up to New York and manhandled the best team in football. They treated the Giants like the Giants have treated the rest of the league.

The Eagles pounded the ball over and over again into the Giants’ line. They controlled the clock, kept third downs manageable, and tired out the G-Men’s defense. In short, they looked like the Giants.

It was everything every fan and writer in Philly has been asking Reid to do for 11 weeks—a grind ’em out, dominate-the-trenches-on-both-sides-of-the-ball strategy.

And it is inexcusable it took Reid this long to do it.

In a year as wide open as this one, any team that makes the playoffs has a legitimate shot at winning it all (aside from the Cardinals).

Sure, the elite teams—the Giants, Titans, and Steelers—are all very good. But they aren’t unbeatable. It’s not as if any of them has an exorbitant edge in talent. After all, the Eagles have already beaten two of the three.

What separates the three from the rest of the NFL is their coaches’ commitment to physicality. When you play any of those three teams, you know you are going to be sore Monday morning.

The Steelers proved that that’s how you win in the NFL back in ’06 when they won it all. The Giants reinforced it during last year’s run. Even the Colts, who won in ’07, did so behind 190 yards in the Super Bowl from Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai.

So why does it take Andy until December to realize the error of his pass-happy ways?

Better yet, why does it take him until December every year to figure it out?

During the last two games, the Eagles ran the ball more than they passed. They won both.

Last year, when the Eagles focused on a run-pass balance, they took the eventual-champion Giants to the wire and finished with three straight wins.

Two years ago, it took a Donovan McNabb injury to force Andy to even out his offense. That balance led to a five-game winning streak and a Jeff Garcia-led playoff berth.

How many times do we have to watch the same script play out?

Every time the Eagles dedicate themselves to running the football, they go on a run. And yet, it still seems the players have to
convince Andy Reid to pound the ball.

“The coaches stuck with it,” Tra Thomas said. “They didn’t get discouraged when there was a two-yard run.”

“Coach stayed with it,” Brian Westbrook added. “He was very committed to it. I give a lot of credit to him because usually we’re not that committed to it. But he saw we were getting it done.”

Daily News writer Les Bowen asked Andy Reid about why he was committed to running the ball Sunday despite only five yards on the first nine carries. Reid didn’t say, “Because I wanted to win,” or “Because I wanted to control the ball.”

He said, “the weather conditions were the biggest factor.”

Bowen quipped, “Do fans who want to see you run the ball more hope for really high winds the rest of the season?”

And yet Andy seemed to miss the joke. “I think the fans just want to win. They don’t care if we run it or pass it.”

That’s true Andy…we just want to win. But you win by running the football. Why is it you seem to be the only one in this city who still can’t see that?

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Over the past few years, Andy Reid has proven he falls under that

The sad thing is, those of us who keep expecting Andy to finally “get it,” are just as insane.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Turning Out The Braindead Megaphone

"in a country that builds lavish sports stadiums and showers Wall Street with trillion-dollar bailouts — 18,000 people die each year because they lack health insurance. We permit this annual massacre while our wasteful system exacerbates our debt and saps our economic competitiveness by forcing us to spend more money per capita on health care than any other nation."

This piece is from David Sirota, one of the best Journalists in the country and a relentless fighter of corporate greed and it's terrible influence our government. Learn more about him by clicking to his blog on left.

Article begins:

If you're having trouble remembering what the recent election was all about, rest easy: you’re probably not going senile – you’re likely experiencing the momentary effects of brainwashing.

For weeks, your television, newspaper and radio have been telling you America is a "center-right nation" that elected Barack Obama to crush his fellow "socialist" hippies, discard the agenda he campaigned on, and meet the policy demands of electorally humiliated Republicans.

This is the usual post-election nonsense from the Braindead Megaphone, as author George Saunders famously calls our political and media noise machine. When George W. Bush wins by 3 million votes, the megaphone blares announcements about a conservative mandate that Democrats must respect. When Obama wins by twice as much, the same megaphone roars about Democrats having no mandate to do anything other than appease conservatives.

It's confusing, isn't it? We hazily recall backing Obama and his progressive platform. Yet, the megaphone's re-educative shock treatment aims to wipe away that memory and conjure eternal conservatism from our spotless minds.

Luckily, we have polling to maintain our sanity.

Public opinion surveys show most Obama voters knew the Illinois senator is a progressive when they cast their ballots – and those votes for him weren't just anti-Bush protests, they were ideological. According to a post-election poll by my colleagues at the Campaign for America's Future, 70 percent of Americans say they want conservatives to help this progressive president enact his decidedly progressive agenda.

Sensing the enormity of these numbers, Obama seems ready to back a "big bang" of far-reaching initiatives. "We can't afford to wait on moving forward on the key priorities that I identified during the campaign," he said in his first radio address as president-elect.

Based on advertisements, Obama identified no more important priority than guaranteeing health care for all citizens. As the Campaign Media Analysis Group reported, he devoted more than two-thirds of his total television budget to ads that included health care themes. Consequently, a Pew poll found 77 percent of Americans said health care would be a decisive concern in their presidential vote.

The moral case for universal health care is obvious. In the world’s richest country — in a country that builds lavish sports stadiums and showers Wall Street with trillion-dollar bailouts — 18,000 people die each year because they lack health insurance. We permit this annual massacre while our wasteful system exacerbates our debt and saps our economic competitiveness by forcing us to spend more money per capita on health care than any other nation.

That said, if morality alone prompted solutions, this problem would have been addressed long ago.

Overcoming inertia on such a thorny issue requires budget pressure — which Obama definitely faces. While some claim the deficit should preclude bold health care legislation, it’s the other way around. The Congressional Budget Office says America’s fiscal gap is “driven primarily by rising health care costs,” meaning a fix is an imperative.

"People ask whether (Obama) has the fiscal breathing room to push health-care reform," economist Jared Bernstein told the Washington Post. "He doesn't have the fiscal breathing room not to do health-care reform."

Additionally, as with everything in Washington, a political motive is needed for action – and even conservatives acknowledge Democrats have such a motive when it comes to health care.

Fifteen years ago, Republican strategist William Kristol warned that the Clinton administration's universal health care proposals represented "a serious political threat to the Republican Party" because, if passed, they "will revive the reputation" of Democrats as "the generous protector of middle-class interests."

As we all remember, Democrats failed to capitalize on the health care opportunity. But Kristol's prophecy was correct then, as it is now. With huge Democratic majorities in Congress come 2009, only the Braindead Megaphone is in Obama's way.

David Sirota is a bestselling author whose newest book, "The Uprising," was just released in June of 2008. He is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network — both nonpartisan organizations. His blog is at

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bailout the auto industry? Hell yes. But...

I got crapped on for this, actually, at work, during lunch, by my fellow union members. Don't care. Bailout the industry and do it immediately.

But get a few pounds of flesh in return.

First of all, rescuing the auto manufacturers also rescues every other manufacturer that supplies specialized products/goods to the auto industry. These folks, mostly unionized workers, have already borne the brunt of management's piss-poor decision making. In fact the UAW has been a leader in calling for more efficient and better quality products, cost-effectiveness and reigning in some of the overreaching their corporate employers have engaged in over the past couple of decades. And that BS about unions driving up the costs of manufacturing is just that: manufactured BS from the likes of the usual dipshits like gasbag Limbaugh and the Drunk. Those jobs can't disappear, or nobody will be able to buy anything, let alone cars.

Second, the bailout has to be conditional. Very. Like 40-plus mpg minimum within a very few years, alternate fuel technology guarantees, and retooling to build mass-transit. If we're going to subsidize the industry, they damn well better make something the public actually wants.

Third, the fuckwits who drove the auto makers into this ditch need to give up the stock options and other incentives that still keep them rich as hell. Don't insult my intelligence with that phony "I'll work for a one dollar salary" bullshit. In fact, they ought to be shitcanned immediately by the new owners of the corporations, the American people, and replaced with management who actually has a vision and a plan for the future of domestic production (in other words, some brains).

And if the manufacturers don't come through? Threaten to go "Full Chavez" on them and nationalize the industry.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"history will judge," he likes to say. He's history, right?

get a life? that's the funny thing: we have lives!

okay, so check this out. its just another day on our fantasy football league's message board. and yes, we're all very, very good friends....

Coach H:
Fuck you and your lame-ass amiability you midget EYEtalian fuck.

"i can't beLEEEEV Slate came through for you like that! fucking AWESOME, man.
this is gonna a GREAT end to the season, either way it turns out."

What a fucking homo!! That kind of talk is an absolute disgrace to the warrior mentality of our great league. I am thankful that the great warrior The Tank was not around to hear such girlish chatter on this great league's message board. Jesus, Mary and mother-nonfucking Joseph!!!
Fuck the match-ups. I cannot tolerate such a prepubescent faggoty ass clown in the playoffs. This is personal now baby girl.

Coach A:
you take my olive branch, and break it? I take it back broken.

you scoff at my gesture of mutual respect for you and your efforts?

you have awakened the souls of my ancient forefathers -- whose blood and sweat helped to build the city of rome, and whose bones comprise that city's seven hills -- and they beg me to swear vendetta on you.

they implore me that you are not worthy of my gestures of respect and kindness, my desire for a battle joined honorably. they whisper to me that they want to bring you the harshest torment you have ever had. they will visit you in your dreams, little boy.


Coach H:
Fuck you and your pagan, Christ-hating ancestors. I shit on the seven hills and their graves.
The Baby Jesus has told me that the EYEtalian people and the evil institution of the Vatican are numero uno on his shit list.
He said the Pope is an evil false prophet who has led his holy teachings astray. Your people are misogynistic, self-absorbed, ignorant fools.
Q. Why is Italy shaped like a boot?
A. Do you think they could fit all that shit in a tennis shoe?

Coach A:
Pipe down. Especially about the tank. He'd never stoop to such barbarous insults. I spit on your snivelry ("I fear the hangover" was your own whimpering battle cry just this morning).


Coach J:
Wow, coming from an Irishman who supposedly can drink.

he "fears the hangover?"

talk about a disgrace to his people!!! The irish would have your hyde if they heard that talk! That might be the first time in league history, a coach has uttered something like, "I'm scared" when it comes to playing another team. Sad, dude.

Just for that, i will continue to give you twisted, confusing advice, somedays sincere, some days kidding (you'll never know which), as the week moves on, about what to do with your lineup this week. I will flood you with sometimes true, sometime false "news updates" on your players. I will fuck with you to make you lose on purpose. Why?

"Because I can," he said with a grin. "Because it's fun. And because the poor, pitiful, insufferable fool can do absolutely nothing about it. That's why. BWohh-hahaha-hahah!!!"

recession, christmas and crazy liberals

an email reply to a friend earlier....

Just so you know, we've BEEN in a recession for at LEAST a year (feels longer than that, no?). This isn't news to most Americans. The news that came out yesterday, was one of the more 'widely accepted' sources that actually proclaim recessions "official" (semantics really), finally did so, and stated yes, we have "been in recession since DEC, 2007."

As we know, Bush apologists (and I would submit others who aren't too bright and/or don't live and work in the real world) have just refused to admit as much, many doing what they always do by simply 'shooting the messenger': "ERP! crazy doom & gloom Liberals! Bleck!" or "..the crazy fringe left is at it again!" ...Rush "drug addict" Limbaugh and Sean "the Drunk" Hannity (as well as many other mainstram media types) make a career out of this nonsense!

Indeed, it appears the Bush administration (as well as the "free" market, wretched greedy-ness by america's biggest corpprations, and many other evil things) has left us a crippling mess for years to come, with the phrase "the great depression" becoming all too familiar in daily articles, analysis, and programs everywhere lately, when describing the size and scope of this fucking catastrophe most all Americans are in. By the way - and I've heard this mentioned lately, but have not heard a single supporter come out and defend it/themselves - just think if the republicans actually succeeded in privatizing social security a few years ago - GULP!!! You think electing Barack was a 'revolution?!' Sheeeet. We'd have witnessed a real revolution the likes America has NEVER seen! Maybe that dumb idea dies forever like "intelligent design" mercifully did.

ah well.... this is the type of crap and trouble a capitalist society breeds (when those at the top and in charge get criminal and evil-y greedy and empower themselves by deregulating themselves), which, by the way, I am whole-heartedly against now, if I wasn't before. Love democracy, mind you, but that capitalism thing, yo.... did I read today that two thirds of our entire economy is based on consumer spending? Was it always that way? Talk about a house of fucking cards!

...speaking of a capitialism (and getting trampled to death on Black Friday to save a couple bucks), "let's all start getting ready for Christmas! WOOHHoooooo!!!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Fuck You Cardinal James Francis!"

...and people question me as to why I'm so concerned about church/state separation issues! People LISTEN to "leaders" like this - that's why! I'm not speaking of the 54% of catholics who voted for Obama and put their principles, common sense and love of country ahead of this anti-American's verbal diarrhea and core beliefs; but there are millions of others out there who really listen and BELIEVE this crap!!! It's rhetoric like this causing the catholic church to become more and more irrelevant, fractured and useless, as the years progress (of course, the almost 10,000 reported cases and/or investigations into rape and abuse of young male clergy by catholic church "leaders" sure doesn't help! Those despicable and unfortunate events have a way of cutting into your 'base,' and forcing even the staunchest of followers to start re-evaluating exactly who it is - and what it is - they're following)...

Read a few of Cardinal James Francis's thoughts and quotes from his speeches below. This insufferable old man is lucky he doesn't live on my block. I tell you true!

Cardinal Stafford criticizes Obama as ‘aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic’

Washington DC, Nov 17, 2008 / 02:27 pm (CNA).- Cardinal James Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, delivered a lecture on Thursday saying that the future under President-elect Obama will echo Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane. Criticizing Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,” he went on to speak about a decline in respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the values of marriage and human dignity.

Delivered at the Catholic University of America, the cardinal’s lecture was titled “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul,” the student university paper The Tower reports. Hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, his words focused upon Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, whose fortieth anniversary is marked this year.

Commenting on the results of the recent presidential election, Cardinal Stafford said on Election Day “America suffered a cultural earthquake.” The cardinal argued that President-elect Obama had campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform” and predicted that the near future would be a time of trial.

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” he said, contrasting the year of Humane Vitae’s promulgation with this election year.

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Cardinal Stafford told his audience. Catholics who weep the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” should try to identify with Jesus, who during his agony in the garden was “sick because of love.”

The cardinal attributed America’s decline to the Supreme Court’s decisions such as the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which imposed permissive abortion laws nationwide.

“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” Cardinal Stafford commented, according to The Tower.

His theological remarks centered upon man’s relationship with God and man’s place in society.

“Man is a sacred element of secular life,” he said, arguing that therefore “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

Cardinal Stafford also touched on the state of the family, saying that the truest reflection of the relationship between the believer and God is the relationship between husband and wife, and that contraceptive use does not fit within that relationship.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"And the hits just keep on coming!" Dems pick up another senate seat!!!

GOP's Stevens loses Alaska Senate seat
Mark Begich's win moves Senate Democrats closer to a 60-vote majority

The Associated Press

updated 9:59 p.m. ET, Tues., Nov. 18, 2008
WASHINGTON - Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history, narrowly lost his re-election bid Tuesday, marking the downfall of a pillar of the U.S. Senate and Alaska icon who apparently couldn't survive his conviction on federal corruption charges. His defeat to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich moves Senate Democrats closer to a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.

Stevens' ouster on his 85th birthday marks an abrupt realignment in Alaska politics and will alter the power structure in the Senate, where he has served since the days of the Johnson administration while holding seats on some of the most influential committees in Congress.

The crotchety octogenarian likes to encourage comparisons with the Incredible Hulk, and he occupies an outsized place in Alaska history. His involvement in politics dates to the days before Alaska statehood, and he is esteemed for his ability to secure billions of dollars in federal aid for transportation and military projects. The Anchorage airport bears his name; in Alaska, it's simply "Uncle Ted."

Tuesday's tally of just over 24,000 absentee and other ballots gave Begich 146,286, or 47.56 percent, to 143,912, or 46.76 percent, for Stevens.

A recount is possible.

Alaska's legacy
"He symbolizes Alaska's legitimacy, that Alaska is a player on the national stage as much as anybody else," University of Alaska Anchorage history professor Steve Haycox said.

Stevens' loss was another slap for Republicans in a year that has seen the party lose control of the White House, as well as seats in the House and Senate. It also moves Democrats one step closer to the 60 votes needed to overcome filibusters in the Senate. Democrats now hold 58 seats, when two independents who align with Democrats are included, with undecided races in Minnesota and Georgia where two Republicans are trying to hang onto their seats.

Democrats have now picked up seven Senate seats in the Nov. 4 election.

"With seven seats and counting now added to the Democratic ranks in the Senate, we have an even stronger majority that will bring real change to America," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

Begich, in a statement, said, "I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the United States Senate. It's been an incredible journey getting to this point, and I appreciate the support and commitment of the thousands of Alaskans who have brought us to this day."

Won't ask for a pardon
The climactic count came after a series of tumultuous days for a senator who has been straddling challenges to his power both at home and in his trial in Washington. Notwithstanding all that turmoil, Stevens revealed Tuesday that he will not ask President George W. Bush to give him a pardon for his seven felony convictions.

Stevens' future was murky at a time when newly elected members of both the House and Senate were on Capitol Hill for heady receptions, picture-taking sessions and orientation this week. Stevens, speaking earlier Tuesday in Washington, said he had no idea what his life would be like in January, when the 111th Congress convenes.

"I wouldn't wish what I'm going through on anyone, my worst enemy," he lamented to reporters. "I haven't had a night's sleep for almost four months."

Convicted just before election
Last month just days before the election, Stevens was convicted by a federal jury in Washington of lying on Senate disclosure forms to conceal more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations from an oil field services company.

His defeat could also allow Republican senators to sidestep the task of determining whether to kick out the longest serving member of their party in the Senate.

When counting resumed Tuesday, 1,022 votes divided the candidates out of about 300,000 ballots cast. Most of the those votes came from areas that had favored Begich — the Anchorage vicinity and the southeastern panhandle around Juneau.

It is a testament to Stevens' popularity — he was once named "Alaskan of the Century" — that he won nearly half the votes, even after his conviction. He routinely brought home the highest number of government dollars per capita in the nation — more than $9 billion in 2006 alone, according to one estimate.

'Big gap in dollars'
With Stevens gone "it's a big gap in dollars — billions of dollars — that none of the other members of the delegation, Begich, whoever, could fill," said Gerald McBeath, chair of the political science department at University of Alaska Fairbanks. "There is no immediate replacement for him."

Following the trial Stevens said he wanted another term "because I love this land and its people" and vowed to press on with an appeal. Professing his innocence, he blamed his legal problems on his former friend Bill Allen, the founder and former chairman of VECO Corp., the government's star witness.

In a state where oil and politics have always mixed, the conviction came as part of a long-running investigation into government corruption centered around VECO.

Stevens' lawyer demanded a speedy trial, hoping for exoneration in time to fight the first serious threat to his seat in decades. But the trial in Washington not only left Stevens a felon, it deprived him of time to campaign in his home state.

Stevens refused pleas from his own party leaders to step down after the verdict, including Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee who said the Alaska senator had "broken his trust with the people."

Begich will be the first Democrat to represent Alaska in the Senate in nearly 30 years. He is the son of Nick Begich, Alaska's third congressman, who died in a plane crash 1972 while running for re-election.

Mandatory Viewing #4. Answer the question folks. Just answer the question!

What gives folks? I've been asking people for a long time the following question: "What is it specifically that you won't be able to handle should a gay couple move in next door to you; how will your life change exactly; what IS it that threatens you?" And I have never gotten an answer to the question. Ever.

I give Keith Olberman MAJOR props for fighting the good fight (the whole crew at MSNBC!) these last few years. Break it down, baby, break it down!

Monday, November 17, 2008

election results update; yes, it's a LANDSLIDE!

By ANY measure, Obama, Dems and Others executed a landslide two weeks ago (feel free to look at past elections for historical numbers and other landlsides; fun and interesting). Here are the current numbers, as per MSNBC, one of the 'numbers leaders' this last election cycle:

Obama: 365 electoral votes
McShame: 173 electoral votes

Obama: 53% of the popular vote
McShame: 46% of the popular vote (wow. just wow)

Obama: 66,672,090 people voted for him.
McShame: 58,223,676 people voted for him....a difference of 8.5 million people. (wow. just wow).

...yep, there's that many clueless americans still left in this country, but hey, it's about 3 million less than 4 years ago!

Congrats to Pilgim for doing a MUCH better job at guessing the outcome than I did. he actually beat out MOSY analysts nationwide!

Senate info...
Dems have 57 seats.
Repubs have 40 seats.

3 races still pending...

MN: Al Franken (DEM) has a mere 206 vote deficit (that is NOT a misprint) out of a few million votes agaisnt Coleman (GOP). They are tied at 42% with the poplualr vote. Automatic recount STARTS later this week.
CCC prediction: too close to call.

GA: State law dictates that a winner can't be crowned until someone has 51% of the vote. Repub, Chamblis has 50% and Dem Martin has 47% I think. There will be a "run-off" election between just the two of them sooner than later.
CCC prediction: Chamblis/Repubs win this one.

Alaska: This race stands at esentially a tie, 47% to 47%, w/ the Dem Beigich currently holding onto a 1,000 vote lead over very recently-convicted felon (7 times!) and all around asshole Ted Stevens (Repub). However, there are more original votes to still be counted, absentee, provisional and paper ballots as well, to my understanding. After that, there may still be a re-count. Many of these votes are from Democratic counties I believe.
CCC prediction: Beigich/Dems win this one.

Senate shaping up to be a 58-41 in favor of Dems, w/ the MN race too close to call. Could end up being 59-41 which you HAVE to love.

I think we're up to 20 seats gained in the house and more coming. I'll get to that later, unless Pilgrim wants to takles the status of those races and "what we think we know" already.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Subject: USA Customer Service problems

Dear World:

The United States of America, your quality supplier of ideals of
liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for its 2001-2008
service outage.
The technical fault that led to this eight-year service
interruption has been located, and the parts responsible for it
were replaced Tuesday night, November 4. Early tests of the newly-
installed equipment indicate that it is functioning correctly, and
we expect it to be fully functional by mid-January.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage, and we
look forward to resuming full service --- and hopefully even to
improving it in years to come.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,


Author unknown
(wish I could take credit for it)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eagles need action, not Reid's hollow words

Great assessment of Andy Reid by local sports journalist, from yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer....

By Ashley Fox

Inquirer NFL columnist

Until the Eagles actually score a go-ahead touchdown to win a close game in the final couple of minutes, I'm done believing anything Andy Reid has to say. It's all just meaningless words now, non-explanations, catchphrases, and taking responsibility for things that don't make any sense.
Apparently, after losing yet another NFC East game by single digits, Reid thinks the Eagles are just fine. He knows what he's got. There's plenty of time left. He's got the pieces he needs.

The only addendum to Reid's normal postmortem yesterday after a 36-31 loss to the New York Giants was this: "We all need to step it up here now another notch down the stretch."

Seems when you "lose three games by three feet," you have to make sure that you work things out and get that taken care of. At least that's what Reid said.


In the battle of potential vs. production, I'm taking production right now. And the Eagles' production is this: five wins, four losses, zero wins in the NFC East, resulting in a spot in the divisional cellar right next to the Dallas Cowboys.

That road to the NFC championship? It doesn't run through Philadelphia anymore. In case those inside the protective gates of the NovaCare Complex haven't realized it, that road hasn't run through here in a while.

While Reid chose to focus on how the coaches could do things "schematically" to put the players in better positions, the reality is not pretty.

The Eagles are 0-3 against their biggest rivals and 0-4 this season in close games. They can't gain 1 measly yard when they have to have it. They can't get a big stop when they need one. They can't stop the run. They're getting manhandled at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Their coach is calling desperate challenges.

And now, in the latest troubling trend that has developed over the last two weeks, the Eagles can't run the football. Brian Westbrook has had back-to-back insignificant performances. Blame the scheme, or blame the player, but the Eagles' most dangerous weapon has been a nonfactor two weeks in a row.

But everything is A-OK. Just listen to the head coach, who knows more than anyone else in town because, you know, he's the head coach and he's been the head coach for the last 10 years. It's going to be fine because Reid knows what he's got. It's no time to panic. There's plenty of time left.

"I know what I have as far as coaches and players, and I know what we have to do," Reid said yesterday. "And we're going to go do it."

Sure you are. Maybe against the 1-8 Cincinnati Bengals. But what about against the Giants again? Or the Redskins again? Or the Cowboys again?

The Eagles' five wins this season have been against teams that, as of Monday, were 18-26. Their four losses have been against teams that are 24-12. The meaning in that is simple: The Eagles can beat the less-competitive teams, but they're toast against the winners.

That means the Birds are in the middle of the pack, at best. And really, is that any better than being, say, St. Louis? Not here.

While he did make the players report for work yesterday - something that hasn't happened on a Monday in a while - Reid seemed to have determined, after what had to be a sleepless night in his office, that the Eagles' glass is half-full.

Pointing to the positives in the game, Reid said that he was happy that "when the Giants were in a passing situation" - and boy, they didn't need to be often - the Eagles' defense was "able to pressure Eli, hit Eli and sack Eli." The truth is, the Giants rumbled right over the Eagles, gaining 219 rushing yards so that Eli Manning didn't have to be perfect with the passing game. Sure, the Eagles pressured Manning from time to time, but he had plenty of time to step into his throws, and the reality is the Eagles sacked him once and he had 31 pass attempts.

Reid also said that the Eagles' offensive line did "an excellent job of protecting the quarterback." True enough. But where was the run blocking? Keeping the quarterback upright is great, but how about providing Westbrook a few holes? He gained 26 yards on 13 carries. And when the Eagles really needed 1 yard late in the game, Westbrook couldn't get it because he had nowhere to go.

But at least McNabb was on his feet.

Everything else Reid said was pretty much a blur about taking responsibility for this and putting guys in a better position to do that and some overused blather about doing something or other schematically. It's now the scheme, and the execution of the scheme. How insightful.

Until the Eagles get a meaningful win - and Cincinnati, Baltimore and Arizona don't count - I'm not buying any of it. Show me, don't tell me. If you can't do that, don't bother with anything else.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day thought (plain, simple, distilled)

So this is a response to a buddy of mine who wished me, "Happy Veterans Day!" today, on our fantasy football message board ('happy veterans day!' in case anyone's wondering, is a great salutation; I don't know if there's an 'official' or common one, but I've always appreciated that one). Keep in mind it's a blog for crying out loud, not the New York Times. Disregard typos, vocabulary, and broken sentences. This goes for everything I ever write on here.

Thanks buddies!

As troops, servicemen, anyone who currently is serving or has ever served can tell you, we are more than happy (bored, patriotic, just plain nuts) to committ ourselves to possibly die for our country, or any other insane sacrifice that might happen, as long as it's for a goddamned good reason.

The LEAST ANY leader can and should do - when LEADING a million or so young americans who are preapred to give their lives like that - is make sure it's a war or mission worth dying for. Leaders OWE us that. It's part of the fucking deal. We TRUST them to be able to determine what a good reason is, to state it simply.

This is the point Bush never got and still doesn't get, with regards to Iraq, and why I've always spoken out so much against the Iraq war, his decision, and anyone who has ever supported the Iraq war (including John McShame). These bastards made one of the worst decisions in our country's history when they decided to invade Iraq and did our troops, our military and America no favors whatsoever. And the reason it was such a bad decision was because it wasn't "worth" american lives. It was simply unnecessary for any american heroes to die there. Same thing with vietnam. which was also a 100% wholly unnecessary war, and eerily similar in that lies from our leaders and made up events were pushed vehemently to sell this utter nonsense to the American people.

Invading Iraq (Hussein never terrorized one single American here and the lying about "WMD"s! - OH MY!" among other things) and committing troops there is exactly the kind of decision troops DON'T want, need, or signed up for. Obama saw Iraq for what it was, and It's why he voted against invading them. He knew damn well it was unnecessary. He out-thunk George W., John McShame (w/ all his experience!) and a whole lot of our other "leaders" on this most important decision of the decade. Let there be no doubt about it: Obama will be a great commander-in-chief, because he has common sense and sound judgement. Something me, and millions of other veterans and active-duty military members wish Bush and the likes of John McShame possessed.

Our military is DECIMATED now, due to an unnecessary war that simply never had to happen. Hussein was no more a threat to one single American than Madonna is. He was boxed in and incapable or launching a firecracker for christ's sake. There wasn't even a MOUSE from al Qadea in Iraq before we invaded, let alone a terrorist! The Iraq war never had to happen and should never have happened and every American service person who died there didn't have to die and should not have died.

The paramount point I hope I'm making (about youth, others being more than willing to sign up for the military and potentially pay the ultimate price so long as they feel they can trust their leaders wholeheartedly), has been compromised during this administration, and America, families, veterans and our military is suffering for it, and will continue to for a truly long time. Americans who would otherwise sign up for the services, have decided they can't trust their leaders anymore to be in charge of their lives when it really matters. So they're not signing up. Recruitment for the military has not only been abysmal for the last several years, but it's actually made us genuinely and definitively less safe as a country (more on this down the road). It's a living tragedy. Thanks to Bush, our military is broken. Without a draft, it will take at LEAST a DECADE to get it back where it needs to be.

Okay, perhaps I digress. But it's important people everywhere realize the sacrifices veterans and current active duty troops have made and are making, and what goes into their thought process; as well as the dangers of what terrible leadership can do to our national heroes, their families and our country.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wish I had said it

"But right about now Joe the plumber is meeting with his transition team. They're going to help ease him from obscurity back to oblivion."

Ouch. But so true.


In the NYTimes today, National Review hack Ramesh Ponnuru sez:
Yes, Mr. McCain’s plans would have cut taxes more than Mr. Obama’s for a lot of middle-class families, but Republicans rarely bothered to point that out. Mr. McCain’s campaign smartly promised to double the tax exemption for children, but the candidate seemed unfamiliar with the idea, repeatedly describing it incorrectly. Likewise, he had an innovative health care plan, but he rarely explained how it would help the average voter.

Ramesh Ponnuru should have his pencils taken away.
...and please let us hope the NYT has more sense than to publish anything by Ponnuru in our presence ever again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

...out with the old...

A new generation transforms US politics
By James Carville

Published: November 5 2008 19:39

American voters have emphatically slammed the door on eight long years of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s divisive politics and disastrous policies. Following a predictable and ho-hum closing stretch of the campaign, Barack Obama was overwhelmingly elected president. The most important and most textured race for the presidency in my lifetime, in most Americans’ lifetimes, deserved a more dramatic finish.

The historical significance of electing our first African-American president cannot be lost on me, as I remember what it was like growing up in the segregated South. To say that I never thought I would see an African-American president in my lifetime is to understate what Mr Obama’s achievement says about America.

Additionally, although there seem to have been no fireworks or fuss marking its demise, with this election the Republican party has lost not only the White House and more than a few seats in Congress but an entire generation of voters. I have written in these pages, as early as August 2007 (see: “How Karl Rove lost a generation of Republicans”), that the Bush-Cheney-Rove triumvirate alienated a vast majority of young voters with its culture wars, ill-planned Iraq war and thorough, relentless bungling of domestic and foreign affairs. What was once a split demographic has become a solid voting bloc for the Democratic party for many years to come. Mr Obama and congressional Democrats made history on Tuesday night in no small measure due to the unprecedented enthusiasm of America’s youth. Mr Obama addressed them in his victory speech: “It [our campaign] drew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.” Quite simply, young voters (18-29 years old) delivered and delivered big.

Exit polling indicates that Mr Obama won two-thirds of those voting under 30 years old against 32 per cent for John McCain. Compare that with a 54-45 margin for John Kerry in 2004 and a 48-46 margin for Al Gore in 2000. Consider this: if young people had voted for Democrats at about the same proportion of the overall electorate (52-46) as they had voted as recently as 2000 for Mr Gore and for many cycles prior, Mr Obama would not have won North Carolina or Indiana. Young voters also provided the margin of victory in key battleground states such as Florida, Virginia and Ohio. The youth vote expanded the map for Mr Obama; it put him over the top in states not won by Democrats in decades.

Additionally, exit polling indicates young voters increased their share of the electorate to 18 per cent, which is no small feat. These numbers will be studied for years to come. But already it is clear that the importance of the margin by which Mr Obama and Democrats up and down the ballot won 18-29 year olds must not be understated.

By large margins, young people believe that Mr Obama can and will change the direction of the country. Their view that government should take an active role in society separates them from older voters. Young people want to see government try to solve problems, like environment and healthcare, and are willing to pay a little more in taxes to make it happen. Their view is indicative of a larger problem for the Republican party.

In presidential politics, party dominance is cyclical. Look at 1896-1932, then 1932-1968, then 1968-2008. Republican dominance over the past 40 years (the exceptions being one term for Jimmy Carter and two for Bill Clinton) grew out of a reaction to the 1960s. It was rooted in the power of the white male vote. But that voting bloc is shrinking while emerging Democratic constituencies are projected to grow in size and voting strength. To put it simply, every shrinking demographic is Republican and every growing one is Democratic.

One party has to lose a presidential election every four years. Congressional seats change hands every election cycle. Elections come and go and usually they are without deep or abiding consequence for either party. That is politics. But occasionally there is the election, like this one, that makes a resounding, lasting impact on the US political landscape. The Republican party, now an at all-time low in popularity, has lost a generation of voters. In 2008, a new Democratic majority has emerged with young voters at the helm. It is a majority that will continue for 40 more years.

The author is an international political consultant and CNN political contributor. He was chief strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, and is working on a book, ‘40 More Years: Electing a Democratic Majority for the Next Generation’


This video is from Fox, actually doing some reporting.
It's a good thing our guy won.


Now that we've all got some sleep, time to start thinking about what an Obama administration means. A week or so ago, Eric Alterman wrote about what Americans may be expecting, citing a Pew Center survey done quite some time ago. According to the Pew survey, a whole bunch of us are "libruls" who actually believe in government taking a somewhat active role in our lives:
roughly 70 percent of respondents believe that the government has a responsibility "to take care of people who can't take care of themselves." Two-thirds (66 percent)--including most of those who say they would prefer a smaller government (57 percent)--support government-funded health insurance for all citizens. Most also regard the nation's corporations as too powerful, while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say corporate profits are too high--about the same number who say "labor unions are necessary to protect the working person" (68 percent). When it comes to the environment, a large majority (83 percent) back stricter laws and regulations, while 69 percent agree "we should put more emphasis on fuel conservation than on developing new oil supplies" and 60 percent say they would "be willing to pay higher prices in order to protect the environment."

Hmmmmm. In wingnut land they're scared of all kinds of evil things:
In a wonderfully apoplectic editorial titled A Liberal Supermajority, frightened Journal editors worried that an Obama landslide could presage "one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933." Among the coming horrors: "Medicare for all...[a] green revolution...ational, election-day voter registration...the end of Guantanamo and military commissions...'net neutrality' rules...."

Oh, the humanity!

Of course it's reasonable that a good government would be looking out for those who "can't take care of themselves", so I find it kind of baffling that 30% or so of the population wouldn't. Then I look at the numbers from surveys indicating the amount of unwavering support for the current lame duck in the White House and I get my answer. What I expect, and I imagine at least 63 million of my fellow Americans do as well, is an administration that reaches out to the 56 million or so fellow Americans who voted for the other guy in order to make sure everyone shares equally in the 'change we can believe in'.

How contentious will the other side be? In spite of the less-than-expected gains in the Senate for Democrats, the brand of conservatism forced upon us over the last three decades or so has been repudiated. Others have said it already and I hope it's true, the era of Friedmanite/Chicago School economics may thankfully be coming to an end. The electoral drubbing is significant in that a true silent majority (maybe not so silent) finally did find a voice. True, there will always be crazies, and I suspect wingnut radio and Faux News are secretly quite happy at the prospect of at least four years in full-throated, spittle-flinging opposition. They have their base to appeal to, after all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



This is my Kennedy.


Did I mention the tears in my eyes?

update: Yeah, cryin' like a baby.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Game, set, match.

President Obama.

'nuff said.

Update: Our long national nightmare is over.

McCain's Epic Fail

Sarah Palin.
Selling out to the wingnut brigades.

Do I really have to explain?
I have 207 Obama to 129 McCain at 10:04 EST.
It's over but for the crying.

According to MSNBC and others, McCain is meeting with Sarah Palin already. The end is near. Ladies and Gents, We have made history!

Props to Howard Dean. Thanks for issuing us into the 21st century (finally), and helping to restore the credibility of the US in the world.

Get used to it:
President Obama.


Update: New England no longer has any Republican Reps, as Chris Shays has been defeated. Go us.
Update 2: another random fact: this is the first time since 1952 that a Dole or a Bush will not hold elective office at a national level in the US.
Update 3: Howard Dean is a Jedi.


Ohio goes for OBAMA.

After PA, the last nail in the coffin is Colorado. C'mon Buffs!

Look at it this way: California is 55 EVs; Washington is 11, and Hawai'i (B.O.'s home state) is 4.


CO is icing on the cake. Not to mention all the other EVs Obama will pick up elsewhere.

Update: Mary Jo Kilroy has won in OH-15, which she narrowly lost two years ago. Ohio is trending blue...Obama has picked up support in rural counties far beyond what Dems have run for years.

Hagan wins in NC

Kay Hagan has apparently defeated Elizabeth Dole for Senate in NC!

Update: by the way, in VA, Warner is blowing out his opponent...upticket coattails? We'll see.

Mid-Election Night Thoughts

I'm drinking beer and coffee in alternate cups. The excitement is palpable, of course.

Florida, as usual, appears to have a clusterf**k in some places.
However, My take is this: Indiana is still too close to call 2 1/2 hours after polls began to close. That's a big deal.

People, one of the reddest of the red is on the fence.

Indiana, a swing state?

Even if McCain wins in the land of Hoosier, the fact that it couldn't be called early speaks volumes to the rest of the night. Take heart my friends!

Another prediction

While Jace does great civic service...thanks, Jace!...I cannot get out of the dreaded "teacher inservice day" (aka "professional development", or as we educators frequently refer, a waste of our time. Thank god for "the Google").

My predictions (optimism included!):
Obama: 348 electoral votes, 51% of popular vote
McLame: 190 electoral votes, 47% of popular vote

Democrats in the Senate: 57 (plus 2 independents)
Republicans in the Senate: 41

Democrats in the House: 275
Republicans in the House: 160

Indiana's polls begin closing at 6pm, but time zone issues keep it from being a uniform closing statewide. If Indiana can't be called for McCain fairly early, look for a Democratic landslide. If Obama wins Indiana, the election could be a complete blowout, an epic fail for the Republicans.

Virginia closes at 7pm, as do Georgia and Florida. GA and FL are tossups, but VA is leaning Democrat. A sweep of these and it is likely over, and a long night for the Goopers.

Ohio and North Carolina close at 7:30. If these two go Dem in addition to VA, FL and possibly GA, it's going to be a bloodbath. The reason I say that is the number of House races that are competitive this year. Relatively early calls in these states for Obama could mean coattails of great length...and a lot of GOP soul-searching on Nov. 5.

Pennsylvania and Missouri close at 8pm. PA should go Dem. MO, on the other hand could get interesting. A win in MO means Obama is probably the next president, because even if he's only holding Kerry states by that point, he will just need 7 electoral votes to seal the deal, and Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa will close at 9, 9 and 10pm respectively. Obama leads in each.

Other stuff to watch: Prop. 8 in California (anti gay marriage), and gay marriage issues in FL and AZ. There's a very severe anti-choice law on the ballot in SD, and a "right-to-work" issue in CO (read: anti-union).

Of course, this is an American election, and we all know what a clusterf**k these can become. So I wouldn't put down money on anything. Things look good for our side going in.

Have fun poll-watching, Jace. I'll be glued to the TV all night

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election outcome prediction

I'm too tired to get long-winded here. I'm working my local polling station tomorrow (Poll Watcher/Greeter) for pretty much the whole day and tired as hell right now, w/ an energy-zapping cold. Suit's ready, kid's lunch is made, coffee machine is set. I gotta get to bed. But first, my prediction:

Barack: 298
McShame: 240

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Speaking of Asinine...

It shouldn't be surprising that McCainiacs would behave this way, but then, Republicans always seem to find a way to outdo themselves in the "I Am A Complete Asshole" contest.
Shirley Nagel of Grosse Pointe Farms gave out treats Friday evening, but only to those who share her support of John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin.
a sign posted outside Nagel's house, about 12 miles west of Detroit, served notice to all trick-or-treaters. It read: "No handouts for Obama supporters, liars, tricksters or kids of supporters."
When asked about children who'd been turned away empty-handed and crying, she said: "Oh well. Everybody has a choice."

Here's a report from a local Fox affiliate:

Where I live, there isn't much doubt about the local vote. Obama will get close to (if not over) 80% here. Even our Republicans are more or less reasonable people who would never visit nastiness upon toddlers because of how their parents vote. There's no trick-or-treat litmus test because it isn't necessary to vet a child on beggar's night to see if they're worthy of candy. All kids are worthy, Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, etc. They're CHILDREN, Shirley! They could give a rat's hind end what you think of Barack Obama. Why the sadism in making them cry?

"Oh, well. Everybody has a choice."
Yeah, Shirley, we do. Mine is Obama. You're gonna have to live with that, you f***ing harpy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

No. F*@&ing. Way.

Are you ready for some voting?!

The election night stash is in the fridge. Come hell or high water, tears of joy or tears of terror, drowning of sorrows or partying for joy, Tuesday night will be a late one.

Yes, we can.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bush Rapes Planet; Earth Must Pay for Rape Kit.

I suppose this should come as no surprise.
The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.

Every president does something at the end of their tenure that is difficult or impossible for his successor to undo (Marbury v. Madison ring a bell?), but generally speaking, no outgoing president declares war just before giving up the oval office.
among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.

George W Shrub, however, will leave a President Obama with many many many poop piles on the living room rug.
regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining.

Wrong in so many ways and so thoroughly for eight years, "The Decider" has made himself even 'wronger'.
Worst. President. Ever.

edit: quoted text from the Washington Post

Rant (after reading post below this one on those who think Obama's muslim)

IN ALL SERIOUSNESS HERE: What other conclusion can one come to, other than these people are at the absolute best, thoroughly uninformed and wholly ignorant, and at worst, dumb, useless Americans? Should we coddle them and pity them for being mentally-deficient, or bitch-slap them for thinking they're smart and accepting this utter bullshit as gospel, from watching the likes of FAUX News and listening to Rush and Hannity, and continuing to perpetrate this garbage as fact?

Speaking of Rush and Hannity, how do those walking abortions sleep at night? They MUST know they are taking advantage of millions of people every day who need help; who don't have the basic tools upstairs to get along in the world. Heck, Rove, Bush, Cheney, McShame, Failin and all our other republican leaders do the same thing. It's like teasing mentally-retarded children at the playground. It's enough to make you sick to your stomach. Much like baby birds sit there with their mouths open, starving for regurgitated worms from their mothers, these unfortunate Americans swallow up whatever the mainstream media of FOX NOISE, Rush "the dopeman" Limbaugh and Sean "another drink, please" Hannity spit out at them. And yes, those insufferable fools (and related channels, websites) ARE the mainstream media, make no mistake (you didn't think the highest-rated cable news show and TWO highest-rated radio shows were "underground," did you?).

Just a sampling of 100% proven lies we've heard any number of the aforementioned talk show hosts, news channels and current White House leaders successfully sell a large percentage of less educated and ignorant Americans this decade:

Obama is a Muslim!
Gotta fight them there so we don't have to fight them here!
Must attack, for there are WMD's in dat dere Desert!
We'll spread Democracy throughout the Middle East!
We're not spying on you and we're not listening in on your phone calls!
Obama's policies are socialist!
He cannot be that patriotic if he doesn't wear a flagpin on his lapel!
He pals around with terrorists!

...this is just the tip of the melting iceberg, as most of you know. It's tough isn't it? It's tough at times to realize and accept you live in the same country as so many dimwits, dumbasses, uneducated, ignorant and mentally-deficient freaks. Even tougher when you realize that the powerful media people/outlets (mentioned above) get paid millions of dollars to exploit this mass of people and feed them mind-poison on a daily basis. And of course, it's the toughest of all, when you see our Government do it day in, day out. Our own United States Government. Lie, lie, lie to get as many people on board as possible so they can continue to enact, instill and establish policies that ultimately destroy this great country of ours, oblivious at times of the true carnage they're inflicting.