Monday, June 30, 2008

"What Is Wrong With Tennessee?" You Ask.

This morning a link on TPM led me to this post which asked, "What Is Wrong With Tennessee?" On my way home from work I took this picture which should answer the Question. It is the statue of Nathan Bedford Forest located in Downtown Memphis. Yes, this is the city with a statue of the founder of the KKK in its very heart, across the street from our state medical school. And this is the liberal corner of the state.

Scott Bloch - In The News Again

The Office of Special Counsel under Scott Bloch apparently though it was their job to 'clear the backlog' by dismissing cases rather than investigating them.

Abuse OK In The Name Of The Lord

No God Blog has a post up this morning that let us know about a decision by the Texas Supreme Court that overturned the child abuse decision against a church for injuring a girl during an exorcism on freedom of religion grounds. Spread the word.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Unnatural Causes

I just spent the afternoon over at Mom's. My sister brought over the DVD Unnatural Causes. It was an excellent documentary about how economic inequality is killing us. We are at a crossroads and we can chose to go one of two ways. We can become a more equitable society like the other industrialized nations or we can become a third world country. Which way will we go?

A Large Percentage Of Respondents Are Dumb Asses

You can find people commenting on the recent U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. There is much speculation as to why 21% of atheists and 40% of agnostics report a belief in god while anywhere from 1% to 10% of the adherent of various faiths report that they do not believe in a god. I believe that this discrepancy is based in the ignorance of the respondents.

Obama v. McCain, The Significant Difference (or Why Even Conservatives Should Vote Obama)

There are many readily apparent difference between these two candidates and they could inform your vote were it not for the big difference. These difference are the typical ones that normally differentiate candidates in any election cycle.

Obama is a liberal - McCain is a conservative

McCain is a Republican - Obama is a Democrat

Obama is an outsider - McCain is an old hand

McCain is a war hero - Obam is not

Obama is an intellectual - McCain is an average guy

McCain is older - Obama is younger

Obama is a great orator - McCain is the cottage cheese in your green jello

These are the kinds of distinctions that have normally guided us when we choose who to vote for. If you are liberal or conservative, elitist or anti-intellectual, if you value change or experience you can make an informed choice about who deserves your vote. But this year these distinctions pale in comparison to the real difference between these candidates. McCain is a dogmatic ideologue - Obama is a practical politician who values results over adherence to philosophical purity.

"Hold on" you say "but McCain is a maverick." That is his earned reputation, but even on the things he splits with his party on, earning that reputation he is a demagogic ideologue. He sees the world in stark relief. He does not value subtlety. He sees himself as the righteous one battling the forces of evil. You are with him or again' him. For him campaign finance reform, or earmarks are not an opportunity to make progress reforming institutions. They are grand moral crusades. He does not like economics because he cannot figure out who is the bad guy and so does not have the ability to make a conclusion. Haven't we seen that movie for the last eight years?

Whether you are conservative or liberal the subtlety that Obama brings weighing each issue as a spectrum of choices should impress. He has been consistent in his approach to solving problems and confronting the issues. He weighs them carefully looking for a solution that is practical both in the world and in political terms. This is what impressed me from the start. He has laid this philosophy out from the start. It is all through his speeches. When he spoke before the 2004 DNC he laid it out. We all face the same problems that need solving whether we are conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, red state or blue. If we come together to solve the problems then we can.

Sen Obama is not going to stop being a liberal. He is, however, going to work in good faith with all comers who wish to be part of the solution. That is what we need. And it certainly does not hurt that he is the kind of orator who can sell his solutions.

Still President Bush Is Still Hurting Us

The Bush administration is trying once again to force less efficient more costly privatization on local governments. Here is their latest stupidity.


The Daily Dish pointed me to this article about perception. It deals with itch and phantom sensation. Here is what Andrew Considered to be the money quote -
The images in our mind are extraordinarily rich. We can tell if something is liquid or solid, heavy or light, dead or alive. But the information we work from is poor—a distorted, two-dimensional transmission with entire spots missing. So the mind fills in most of the picture. You can get a sense of this from brain-anatomy studies. If visual sensations were primarily received rather than constructed by the brain, you’d expect that most of the fibres going to the brain’s primary visual cortex would come from the retina. Instead, scientists have found that only twenty per cent do; eighty per cent come downward from regions of the brain governing functions like memory. Richard Gregory, a prominent British neuropsychologist, estimates that visual perception is more than ninety per cent memory and less than ten per cent sensory nerve signals.
The more I learn about how perception works the more surprised I am the they are ever right.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Joe's Liquor's Sputnik

This sign for Joe's Liquor illustrates part of what I like about living in Midtown. About ten years ago, after this sign had not worked for decades, the new owner of Joe's decided that he wanted to fix the Sputnik which was a Midtown landmark. He could not afford to do so. He talked to people about his wish and several local bands offered to do benefits for him to raise the funds. When it was repaired one of the bands played in the parking lot across the street and Joe's had a party for the official relighting of the Sputnik. About this same time several business out in the suburbs were putting up artificially distressed signs to try to give themselves authenticity. They take new things and try to make them look old. Midtowners take an old thing and make it new again. Then we throw a party to celebrate in the street!

Ma Vie En Rose

Ma Vie En Rose (My Life In Pink) is a quirky Belgian movie about a sevenyear old transvestite and his family's reaction to his desire to be a barbie doll. I was amazed at how well this movie treated all of its characters and the problems they were faced with. How much should we conform to the expectations of others and how much can we expect them to conform to ours? It will make you think and entertain you at the same time.

Klinke Brothers

These are photos of the old Klinke Brothers dairy and creamery on Belvue Blvd here in Memphis. This rundown abandoned building with its distinctive milk bottle shaped tank on the roof is a historical landmark for my family. It's the place where Dad lied about his age to get his first job after fleeing the farm and heading for the big city in the mid 1940's. Update: Mom tells me that this is not the dairy that Dad Had a job at. He worked at the Sealtest Dairy which is no longer standing.

Even in decay this is a beautiful building. It is an example of the factories built all over this nation when companies cared about their image and built attractive places of business instead of the ugly boxes of tin that liter the landscape today.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Some movies are so beautiful that the story and the characters become irrelevant. Immortal is high on the list of them. It is a combination of live action and animation presenting a French version of the gritty side of a slickly technological fantasy future where the gods of old live along side AI. It is like 102 minutes of film shot shot in the Bowery of a slick perfume commercial world.

He Only Thinks It Is Apolitical

FredrickBernanke over at ProteanPerspectives put this post up that points to an article claiming that it is an apolitical article. It is actualy very relevant to many policy differences between the parties. The GOP is continually trying to sell people on 'choice' in one policy area or anther. But as the research the article discusses points out we are not best served by to many choices. Especially ones we cannot understand all the ramifications of. This is why we are poorly served by private insurance. It offers us choices we cannot understand that have consequences for our lives. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz is a book dedicated to the policy and life implications of this problem.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

I am very much into movies so I am going to post here on a regular basis movies that I have seen that I think are exceptional. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is my first recommendation. It is the story of a solitary hit man who dedicates his life to living 'The Way of the Samurai' and raises pigeons. It is an unusual movie quiet, contemplative, beautiful, and violent. The soundtrack is perfect and watching Ghost Dog talk with his best friend without a shared language is strangely calming, as is the gentleman building the boat. I understand why it was not a blockbuster. It does not play to the lowest common denominator. I watch movies often but I own only a hand full that can stand up to repeated viewings this is one of them.

My Representative Calling Dick Cheney a Barnacle

McCain v Obama Debate Posturing

What should Sen Obama do about Sen McCain's challenge to ten townhalls? Humanity Critic has suggested that he is correct to decline the challenge in his post Hey Barack, give McCain's "Townhall" idea the Gasface!( over at The Nappy Diatribe. I agree but think in order to look strong he needs to up the ante. He should give McCain a challenge that looks even more bold than McCain's. He should challenge McCain to a series of debates that include traditional debates, McCain's preferred townhalls, Lincoln Douglas style debates that he has suggested, and my favored Chess Clock Debate. This will force McCain to be the one who backs down.

Supreme Injustice

The Supreme Court decided in all its wisdom that it is cruel and unusual punishment to apply the death penalty in cases of child rape because the child was not killed. I am against the death penalty for many reasons that have nothing to do with it being cruel and unusual but their reasoning seems to me to be the height of injustice. They are saying that there is no fate worse than death. That is simply not the case. We say that the death penalty is not applicable to simple murder. There must be aggravating circumstances. You get the death penalty for your cruelty, not for simple murder. (At least on paper that is the reason. In real life we all know it helps to be a member of a minority who has killed a white woman.) Their ruling is an affront to common sense. We know it is possible to inflict a fate worse than death. And for that you should receive the death penalty if it is to be imposed for any reason.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

GOP Senator Runs Pro Obama Add

Every time I try to tell myself not to get overconfident something like this comes along. You do not want to get complacent and start thinking that Sen McCain is toast before the election starts. How can you resist the temptation when his own GOP colleagues think they are better off allying themselves with his opponent?

The Daily Clusterdouche

A post over at TPM entitled 'Jews Pray For Rapture Just To Rid The Earth Of Ann Coulter' led me to The Daily Clusterdouche. It is a high quality, low volume humor site that is much like The Onion. I have added it to my links and recommend it to all.

Obamaniac Overconfidence

We are overconfident. We are arrogant. If we do not reign it in we are going to lose. All of our individual concerns are valid but that does not make bringing them up productive.

At a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus Sen Obama said "If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it." He is making the argument that Sen McCain is against the positions of a majority of women but what was the takeaway message for Rep. Diane Watson? For her it was a chance to get offended because he used the three words she did not want to hear, "get over it". Because that is a trigger phrase for her she did not hear the argument which is so obviously true he should not have even had to be making it to a member of the House.

At a Detroit rally an Obama volunteer asked two women wearing head scarves to to not sit behind the Sen Obama. They decided to take public umbrage to this slight and force the Senator's campaign to deal with this matter of trivia for a week instead of concentrating one defining his race with Sen McCain. Do they think that their interests are better served by a president who wants to Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran?

Last week Sen Obama made a statement saying he would fight to get the telecom immunity removed from the FISA bill but that if he failed in that that failure would not make him vote against the final bill. If you listened to the hue and cry from his supposed political alis you would have thought he was the author of every deminishment of our civil rights for the past eight years instead of the candidate who is trying to defeat them.

Do you think McCain will be a better representative of where you want the nation to go? Even if you are just choosing the lesser of two evils and you believe in governmental checks and balances, peace, women's rights and the environment; Obama is your man. Quit acting like he cannot lose. He surely can. If we keep taking him to task for every slight to our pet issues then he surely will. Until the Wednesday after the Tuesday after the first Monday in November just Get Over It! Unless you think we need four more years of the policies of Bush.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Your Jewlery Proves You Are Poor.

But you knew that. My father said that you might as well tattoo PWT (Poor White Trash) on your forehead.

George Carlin Is Dead

Today we read and hear about him everywhere because he died last night. Before when we heard about him it was because of what he said. He pointed out the absurdities of our collective hypocrisy and called us on it when we hid the truth behind euphemism. Do not do this truth teller the discourtesy of using the euphemisms he ridiculed when you speak of his death. He did not pass, or meet his maker. He died.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Getting Off Oil?

The left has been trying to get us to use our resources wisely for decades. They want a cleaner place to live and for us to quit destroying the environment that sustains us. Global warming has been the threat that they tout as crying out for a solution for years.

Bob Lutz a vice chairman at GM has called global warming a “total crock of shit." What has he got in common with the environmentalists. In this article at The Atlantic he is quoted as saying, “The one thing I care about is getting off imported oil.” Why does he care if global warming is a “total crock of shit"? He cares because it is a national security issue. He is a former Marine fighter pilot and he cares about our future.

If the left and the right both agree that we need to get of the oil teat, why are we still arguing about why? If some of us are motivated by environmental concerns and others by national security concerns what is the difference if we agree that the solution is burning less oil? Who cares if your Hummer is killing the whole world or just our nation? Why are we not doing the things we need to?

Zero Carbon Transportation

Under the tracks and through the hood to Nanny's house we went for Sunday dinner. Bikes are real transportation.

Zero Carbon Lawn Care

Here are the tools I use to care for my lawn. They are safe, silent, burn no fuel, and are joy to use. Since they work on damp grass just as well as dry, in high summer I do my work before the heat then sit in the shade and watch others sweat.

McCain's Lobyists

I loves me some TPM. This morning they pointed me to this article about McCain's questionable behavior arround a defense contract for refueling airplanes. Money quote:
The auditors' ruling has also cast light on an overlooked aspect of McCain's crusade: five of his campaign's top advisers and fund-raisers—including Tom Loeffler, who resigned last month as his finance co-chairman, and Susan Nelson, his finance director—were registered lobbyists for EADS.


There has been much discussion of the FISA changes that are working their way through congress. CarolBG over at TPM posted this link to a history of all of the changes that have been made to the bill since it originaly passed. I thought it was a good reference so I am posting the link here as well. She also posted a link to the Wiki page about FISA which is much more readable.

Black In America

A friend sent me a link to the add for this CNN special Black In America. I am setting the DVR for this one. I do not know how good it will be but it will be worth talking about good or bad. Maybe we can have that converstion that Sen Obama so eloquently asked us to.

Crossposted at TPM.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mat Yglesias Wins

There have been many arguments that I have read and agreed with saying that Obama should appoint this or that Republican to the position of secretary of defense. Matthew Yglesias has defeated than all with just two sentences in a two paragraph post.
If you find a moderate Republican with sound views on key environmental issues and make him or her head of the EPA, that says "climate change is an important issue and there's bipartisan support for taking action." If you put a Republican in charge of the Pentagon it says "Obama likes diplomacy, but even he knows that when the going gets tough you need to call in the GOP."
This made me think about the question in a new way. Before I had seen the SecDef position as a job that a Democrat could trust a Republican to actually do and not try to undermine him. It was the post I was willing to trust them with because I thought they would mess up anything else. Defense was the one area where I thought we are all on the same side of this issue. I had not considered the fact that the GOP likes to paint Democrats as incompetent in this area. Mr. Yglesias convinces me that I had looked at this question from exactly the wrong point of view. I wish that I could argue that concisely.

Cross posted at TPM.


A more recent picture.


Phyllis at the voter registration table we manned at the ParMasters open house.

The Fight Against Global Warming

This is the first in a series of posts on fighting climate change. The picture is of an antique window fan I bought at a carport sale for $20.00. It keeps my house comfortable on all but the hottest of days at a large savings over AC.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Afraid Of Or For McCain?

I was thinking that Sen McCain might have chance to beat Sen Obama. I never thought it was likely but I got over confident in 2000 because I thought Bush was transparently lying his ass off like a slimy used car salesman. Half of the American electorate saw it differently though. I am trying to avoid that sort of over confidence this time. John McCain is making this tough though. Now I am beginning to worry that he might blow up so bad that he gets replaced at the convention.

He is acting batshit crazy. Like he cannot remember basic facts, or even his own positions. Can the people not notice this? Will his poll numbers continue to crater? And if they do will the GOP replace him?

Crossposted at TPM.

Testing My Ability To Embed Video

Don't Drop That Fag Bomb!

Thanks to Mr Sullivan.

Thursday, June 19, 2008



I intended to start a new series of posts this evening. They were to involve pictures. I ended up spending the whole evening getting that to work so I will work on the planned posts this weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Obama's campaign is claiming that he is getting the support of some Republicans/conservatives. McCain claims the same of Democrats/liberals. I was amused to find counter claims from TPM and The Corner as pointed out by The_Daily_Dish today. I find the liberal claims that McCain's Democratic supporters are not Democrats the more convincing argument (it appears they are not even ethical regardless of party affiliation) but then again I am bringing my liberal bias with me.

This post has been editited to fix the liks to The Corner. 7:51 am

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Uplift

Sen Obama has once again with his Father's Day speech shown us why he should be the next president. How many politicians have we seen (in our lifetimes, not in historical documentaries) who can extol us to do better while making us feel uplifted instead of berated. This ability to with the force of words and argument call a nation to rise up and be better people and a better people, to strengthen our community and nation by being the people we should be. I watched him last night on C-SPAN and I was again impressed with a politician who does not do the traditional pander. He did not tell us how great the American father is doing. He told us where we need to show improvement. He did so in a way that steels our resolve to rise to the challenge. He used religious language in a way that even an atheist like myself cannot object to. He spoke of peoples religion as a tool to raise themselves up. He did not use it, as all to many have in recent years, as a weapon to beat others down with. He is the leader we need with the skills we need to face the challenges of modern life and once again raise this nation up to new heights and face the twenty-first century as one nation and one people. If you missed it you can see it here. You will be glad you did.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I have decided to try my hand at putting out my own blog again. For the past few months I have been bloging at TPM . TPM is a good place to discuss politics and I will continue to cross-post any political posts there. I have an urge to post on other topics though. That is why I have started this blog. I had another bloger blog a little over a year ago and soon lost interest. You can see a two year old picture of me ther if you wish. I will be uploading a new onw here as soon as I take one.