Above the Fray

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I have been wondering why no one had pointed this out sooner. I am really tired of the FF meme..

Thank you Juan Cole! The simple question nobody is asking: what’s so bloody wrong about changing your mind?

(When did this become “flip-flopping,” and is it really better to brag about NOT changing your mind when things go wrong?)

PBD - Progressive Blog Digest

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Thought for the day

Sometimes a picture captures it all:

Image titled Statue of Limitations, done by artist T. Royal

Statue of Liberty by artist T. Royal

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Health Care Info

Excellent series of reports on Health Insurance issue. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Employer-sponsored health insurance costs have risen by more than 11% this year.

Family health insurance premiums have risen by 59% since 2001, as there have been double-digit increases in health insurance costs every year during that span.

At least 5 million fewer jobs offer health insurance in 2004 than they did in 2001.

Average family health insurance premium: $9,950 annually ($829/month), $10,217 annually ($851/month) for PPO coverage (the most common kind).

Average single coverage premium: $3,695 ($308/month).

While the rate of increase in health insurance rates is slightly less than it was in 2003, rates still have risen five times faster than U.S. workers' salaries.

The Kaiser Family Foundation also has an excellent table comparing the two candidates' health plans.

Health Care and the 2004 Elections - Kaiser Family Foundation

A 'sorta' summary in the New York Times: Bush Says Kerry Is..

Monday, September 20, 2004

Red States: A new map

Pictures vs. words:

Job Growth, lack of

States in red represent those where job growth has not been sufficient to match the Bush administration's projections

JobWatch: State data and organizations

Friday, September 10, 2004

A Yoda Moment

This is the Organizational Development view [and the correct one of course]:

This is the Tommy Corcoran column. Tommy the Cork, so dubbed by FDR, was a Washington wise man. His various biographers called him the ultimate insider, the super lawyer and the master fixer. He came to Washington in 1926 to clerk for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and became a fixture, an almost institutional source of wisdom about American politics, before his death in 1981.

The Cork had a theory about how to choose a president. He always said it didn't matter who was running, that it was unnecessary to pay any attention to them. What matters, he said, is the approximately 1,500 people the president brings to Washington with him, his appointments to the positions where people actually run things. The question to consider is which 1,500 people we get....

For a glimpse of the 'dark side' of organizational development, look at this bio of Albert Speer
Albert Speer was the architect who served Adolf Hitler with devotion and efficiency, starting with his enthusiastic crafting of Nazi rallies and going on to become the organisational genius whose efforts are credited - if that is the word to use - with keeping the German war machine functioning under the onslaught of the Allied blockade and bombardment. Albert Speer is said to have prolonged the war for at least a year [probably longer]...

For more info, read about The Krupp family.
Krupp is the name of a prominent German family, famous for their steel production and armament manufacture...

..After Hitler came to power, the Krupp works became the center for German rearmament. In 1943, by a special order from Hitler, the company was reconverted into a family holding, and Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1907-67) took over the management.

After Germany's defeat and the incapability of Gustav to be tried, Alfried was tried as a war criminal at the Nuremberg Trials for his company's use of slave labor and he was sentenced to 12 years and ordered to sell 75% of his holdings.

In 1951, as the Cold War developed and no buyer could be found, he was released and in 1953 he resumed control of the firm. [wikipedia]

For an intense read: The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty that Armed Germany at War [1587-1968] by William Manchester

Molly Ivins: 'Forget Bush'

Birthday foolishness

On a lighter note.. I was having my morning coffee, and decided to take a short online quiz. Guess what Sci Fi character I am.. no suprise here to those in the know lol:

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Thanks Biomes [a great little Blog.. marine animals and stuff]

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Maher is back

Back in the fray again:

New Rule: You can't run on a mistake. Franklin Roosevelt didn't run for re-election claiming Pearl Harbor was his finest hour. Abe Lincoln was a great president, but the high point of his second term wasn't theater security. 9/11 wasn't a triumph of the human spirit. It was a fuck-up by a guy on vacation.

Now, don't get me wrong, Mr. President. I'm not blaming you for 9/11. We have blue-ribbon commissions to do that. And I'm not saying there was anything improper about your immediate response to the attacks. Someone had to stay in that classroom and protect those kids from Chechen rebels.

But by the looks of your convention, you'd think that the worst thing that ever happened to us was the best thing that ever happened to you. You just can't keep celebrating the deadliest attack ever as if it's your personal rendezvous with greatness. You don't see old men who were shot down during World War II jumping out of a plane every year. I mean, other than your dad.

But even your dad didn't run for re-election based on a recession and his propensity to barf on the Japanese. Now, I know you'd like us all to get swept away with emotionalism and stop sweating the small stuff like the deficit and the environment, and focus on what's really important: how you look in a fireman's hat. But crying during your speech? I mean, come on! There's no crying in politics! It's not fair! That's a trick chicks use. How are we supposed to discuss this rationally if you're going to cry?! There's a name for people who exploit their participation in historical events for political gain. They're called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

So I say, if you absolutely must win an election on the backs of dead people, do it like they do in Chicago, and have them actually vote for you.

HBO: Bill Maher: New Rules
Ouch Ouch

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Short and Sweet

Pithy pithy

..this president sees America as we think about a 10-year-old child 10-year-old child in need of the sort of protection provided by a parent. [a 'critical parent' doncha know]
Andrew Card

How long can we pretend that the spit in our faces is rain?
Gideon Levy in "Ha'aretz"

It does not require many words to say the truth.
Chief Joseph

The Smirking Chimp

Jimmy Carter: a note to Zell

A 'come to Jesus meeting' with class:

To Sen. Zell Miller:

You seem to have forgotten that loyal Democrats elected you as mayor [of Young Harris] and as state senator. Loyal Democrats, including members of my family and me, elected you as state senator, lieutenant governor and governor. It was a loyal Democrat, Lester Maddox, who assigned you to high positions in the state government when you were out of office. It was a loyal Democrat, Roy Barnes, who appointed you as U.S. senator when you were out of office. By your historically unprecedented disloyalty, you have betrayed our trust.

Great Georgia Democrats who served in the past, including Walter George, Richard Russell, Herman Talmadge and Sam Nunn, disagreed strongly with the policies of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and me, but they remained loyal to the party in which they gained their public office. Other Democrats, because of philosophical differences or the race issue, like Bo Callaway and Strom Thurmond, at least had the decency to become Republicans.

Everyone knows that you were chosen to speak at the Republican National Convention because of your being a "Democrat," and it's quite possible that your rabid speech damaged our party and paid the GOP some transient dividends.

Perhaps more troublesome of all is seeing you adopt an established and very effective Republican campaign technique of destroying the character of opponents by wild and false allegations. The Bush campaign's personal attacks on the character of John McCain in South Carolina in 2000 was a vivid example. The claim that war hero Max Cleland was a disloyal American and an ally of Osama bin Laden should have given you pause, but you have joined in this ploy by your bizarre claims that another war hero, John Kerry, would not defend the security of our nation except with spitballs. (This is the same man whom you described previously as "one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders --- and a good friend.")

I, myself, served in the Navy from 1942 to 1953, and, as president, greatly strengthened our military forces and protected our nation and its interests in every way. I don't believe this warrants your referring to me as a pacifist.

Zell, I have known you for 42 years and have, in the past, respected you as a trustworthy political leader and a personal friend. But now, there are many of us loyal Democrats who feel uncomfortable in seeing that you have chosen the rich over the poor, unilateral pre-emptive war over a strong nation united with others for peace, lies and obfuscation over the truth, and the political technique of personal character assassination as a way to win elections or to garner a few moments of applause. These are not the characteristics of great Democrats whose legacy you and I have inherited.

Sincerely, and with deepest regrets,

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter Letter to Zell Miller

Friday, September 03, 2004

Revised Preznit Speech

WOC might run for Pres. 2008.. her acceptance speech is already written.

Bush Gives Acceptance Speech; Local Woman Watches, Because Nothing Else On

I watched the Bush acceptance speech. While I briefly fell asleep, I don't think this necessarily means it was boring. However, it was pretty boring.

So, as a public service, here's a condensed version. [You can check it against the text posted by Atrios if you want to verify my accuracy.]

During the past four years as your President, I have accomplished many great things. Most notably, 9/11.

Since 2001, Americans have been given hills to climb, streams to ford, rainbows to follow, until we find our dream. Now, because we have made the hard day's journey into night, we can see clearly, for the rain is gone -- and there ain't no mountain high enough to keep us from you. Now, because we have faced challenges with Resolve, the stains wash right out. We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America, and nothing will hold us back. And we'll do it our way, yes our way, make all our dreams come true. For me and you.
An additional comment
As to the 'nucular' versus 'nuclear' debate, I think our Constitution should mandate that no individual should be allowed anywhere near the button until he can pronounce the word properly ten times in a row. Fast.

WoW, sets the bar kinda high doncha know..and so it goes...
World O'Crap