Sunday, March 20, 2011

Headlines - Sunday March 20

Radiation-contaminated food is found 90 miles from the Fukushima plant and "slight amounts" of radioactive iodine have been detected in Tokyo tap water. A food scare is so not what the government needs right now.

And what's the absolute worst case scenario for Fukushima? Pretty goddam bad. According to one expert, it's possible that the area around the plant could become uninhabitable and that an area "
as large as several northeastern states" would be affected. That last estimate would include sea area, obviously.

Missiles away! Obama commits US to third war.
'Operation Odyssey Dawn' Said to Be the Most 'Homeric' War the United States Has Ever Waged; 'Awesomely Epic', Facebookers Are Commenting
Sarah Palin: I Would Have Won In 2008 If I'd Been The Top Of The Ticket

Yup, she said it.

Sarah Palin was in New Delhi, India March 19 for the annual India Today conclave, where she gave a speech on "My Vision for America." The theme for this years conclave was "The Changing Balance of Power." After her speech, Palin sat down for a Q and A session with India Today Editor-in-Chief and Session Chairman Aroon Purie, during which she blamed McCain for losing 2008, among other mildly amusing indications that she is running for President in 2012. When asked why she lost 2008, Palin snapped, "I wasn't the top of the ticket!" Palin's speech, by the way, was nothing new: Palin bashed green energy, called for more oil drilling, and made sure to blame Obama again for high gas prices (I suspect they know about the global market in India and might not be as prone to buying this jingle as Americans are). I have no idea how they translated her word salad; I couldn't follow it in English.


"In God We Trust" Bill Advances

Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill requiring the placement of "In God We Trust" on all "public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions." The bill was introduced by Tea Party-backed GOP Rep. Randy Forbes (VA), who in recent years introduced bills demanding that the federal government "recognize the Holy Bible as the inerrant word of God." Forbes' bill has a good shot of passage in the full House. 

Bob Cesca: War and Health care

I've been snarkily repeating the idea that the CBO should score the American military action in Libya -- asking if it's "deficit neutral" and all that. But I'm deadly serious. If Washington can execute an air war in North Africa at the drop of a hat without even mentioning the deficit, or where the money will come from, then we shouldn't have been so frantically and exhaustively scoring the healthcare reform legislation for its fiscal responsibility, etc...

Put another way: How are the Libyan people more important than the health care of the American people?

I understand the "Why We Fight" system, but it doesn't make it any more digestible -- especially coming from this administration, which is prepared to meet the Republicans halfway on their austerity cuts while also leaping into a No Fly Zone situation without even pretending to care about how it will be financed. Of course, double shame on the Republicans who can't wait to screw everyone with massive cuts, while also enthusiastically cheerleading an all out war in Libya.

So I write again: When will the CBO score the No Fly Zone for its impact on the deficit? We deserve to know why Libya is more worthy of deficit spending than is just about every social program in America, including the National Parks, NIH, CDC, Planned Parenthood, WIC, tsunami warning stations, NOAA and all the rest of it.

Glenn Beck's gold coin sponsor guilty of defrauding and counterfeiting.

The nationwide referendum is the first major test of the country's transition to democracy after a popular uprising forced Hosni Mubarak to step down five weeks ago, handing the reins of power to the military.

Early signs show an unusually big turnout, with lines forming in the hours before polls opened. They snaked along the streets in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, with men and women standing in separate lines as is customary in the conservative and mainly Muslim nation.

Until this week, Utah had 24 state symbols, from tree (the blue spruce) to insect (the honeybee) to even cooking pot (the Dutch oven).

Now it's added an official state firearm -- the John M. Browning-designed M1911 pistol, becoming the first state in the nation to have one, according to the state legislator who sponsored the law.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the new symbol into law this week.
William Rivers Pitt: Two Ghouls
"And you thought only men could be warmongers!"
Jill: Somehow this makes me terribly, terribly sad
They're dying in the wild too, thanks to human stupidity.
The nation is collapsing from the foundation-eating transfer of wealth from the working class to the already obscenely wealthy, but Obama and the Democrats are focused on that minor drip in the upstairs sink.
I believe that it was the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan who said something like, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts." It would seem that the Texas Young Republican Federation doesn't need facts -- it can just make them up as they go along, and then opine away.

They tried to tell the people of this state that the teacher-to-administrator ratio in Texas has swelled to nearly 1-to-1 (almost one administrator for each classroom teacher). Here's a link to the PR release of this ridiculous right-wing disinformation.

Many people realize that their jobs are at stake as the Legislature considers $9.8 billion in education budget cuts. So, the snot-nosed, trust-fund-suckled Young Republicans should have realized that somebody was going to check up on their "facts."

None other than the Texas Education Agency did just that. Here's the link to that story.

The Young Piss Ants claimed that the teacher-administrator ratio had gone from about 4-to-1, favoring classroom teachers, in Texas in the 1970s to nearly 1-to-1 now. But TEA data show that the actual ratio is now nearly 13-to-1, weighted to the classroom.

Here's how the Young Rethuglicans explained their data:

Kristy Moore, chairwoman of the federation, said the group's statistic includes all nonteaching staffers -- including superintendents, bus drivers and counselors -- who fill "administrative" roles.

So, janitors and bus drivers are now "administrators?" What about crossing guards?

Here's more from that story:

Among those saying the ratio is misleading is Moak, Casey & Associates, an Austin-based school finance consulting firm. The firm notes that the second-largest group of school employees is auxiliary staff, which can include bus drivers and nurses aides.

"I'm not sure why this keeps getting repeated, other than folks trying to beat the drum that schools are overstaffed," said Dan Casey, a partner in the firm.

None of this is shocking, just foolishly predictable. Right-wingers have a nasty habit of "cooking the books" when it comes to their "factual" data.

I recall getting into a strange exchange with some bozo clerking in a cigar store back in the 1990s. He claimed to me that the U.S. had spent "$6 trillion" on welfare in 30 years (since 1965). I told the man that he was misinformed. He went looking for some book, probably by Rush Lardbaugh, to back up his claim. He had a hard time finding the passage -- I think he hadn't actually finished the book and was afraid of losing his place in it. Anyway, I just paid for my smokes and left. The problem with trying to argue with fools is that you may be mistaken for one yourself.

Later, I realized what his bogus "argument" was, because I ran across it again. What his "book" was putting forth was the notion that any and all spending on anything that could be construed as "social welfare spending" at all by the federal government, which would include Social Security and Medicare, would come under the category of "welfare." When I hear someone say "welfare," I think of the specific program called Aid to Families With Dependent Children. He and his "source" were including anything that could be even remotely called "social welfare spending."

The 19th-century British philosopher John Stuart Mill once said something to the effect that, while not all conservatives are stupid people, most stupid people are conservatives. This is how so many common slobs, who have no common interests with the trust-fund babies comprising the Young Republicans, are pathetically demagogued. They read some initial "claim," then don't bother to check the facts in any detail.

What this boils down to is that there are some people who can be believed, and others who can't. The common word for them is liar.

And when they're stupid liars, it seems even worse.


OK, there's something worse than murdering your own citizens for protesting: teargassing the mourners at the funerals. "Syrian security forces have fired tear gas to disperse crowds at the funeral of two people killed in anti-government protests on Friday, witnesses say. Thousands had gathered for the funeral in the southern city of Deraa, and began chanting anti-government slogans. Rights activists said at least one mourner was arrested by secret police. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose Baath party has dominated politics in the country for almost 50 years, tolerates no dissent. Activists said the mourners had been chanting "God, Syria, freedom" before security forces intervened. Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the mood at the funeral was angrier than during Friday's protest."
Georgia GOP Bobby Franklin says America is like Qadaffi because abortion is legal.

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