Saturday, January 5, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
Total Voter Turnout (approximate)
Percentage of total vote
11.4% Huckabee (R)
So the "landslide," if there was one, was for the Democrats. (H/T to Hubris Sonic at Group News Blog)
And my favorite headline of the day (so far):
- Blatantly crossed a picket line this week to appear on the Tonight Show, pretending he didn't know the strike was on, even though the Machinists union -- which has endorsed Huckabee -- implored him not to appear on the show.
- Was unaware that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had lifted martial law in that country -- two weeks ago, while making this statement about Benazir Bhutto's assassination: the United States should be "trying to ascertain who’s behind it, and what impact does it have on whether or not there’s going to be martial law continued in Pakistan."
- Stated incorrectly that Pakistan shares its eastern border with Afghanistan (Afghanistan is to the west). Not important, except that it shows his lack of knowledge of that region if he doesn't know that Pakistan is west of India.
- Here on the homefront, Huck's not done much better. Trying to turn the Pakistan election crisis into some good 'ol homegrown terror, he said, "“We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.” He then followed that up with: "In light of what happened in Pakistan yesterday it's interesting that there were more Pakistanis who illegally crossed the border than of any other nationality except for those immediately south of our border -- 660 last year." Trouble is, that's not true.
- Huckabee's record in Arkansas is horrible. In his 8 years as governor, he commuted the sentences of over 700 convicted criminals -- more than his three predecessors combined. Included among those he released was Wayne Dumond, who after he was released went on to rape and murder two more women.
Yes, I know that's the son, not the father, but the nut doesn't fall far from the tree, as we used say in the teaching world. I mean, how else to explain what elder Huckabee said about the AIDS epidemic in 1992:
"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."
I'm sure young Ryan White, who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion would have appreciated being isolated. But White died in 1990. Huckabee's claim is that we didn't know much about AIDS in 1992. In 1992! Yes, we did, Mike. Those of us who cared. The first AIDS cases were discovered as early as 1981, and but you must have followed the lead of Ronald Reagan, who refused to utter the term "AIDS" and allowed thousands to die before the federal government finally got involved in researching the disease.
Hell yeah I'm mad. A Mike Huckabee administration? Are you kidding me? Canada, here I come.
UPDATED: Now from FactCheck.org we find that the the negative attack ad that Huckabee held a press conference to announce he would not run, actually did run.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee raised eyebrows Dec. 31 when he told reporters at a news conference that he had decided not to run an attack ad calling rival Mitt Romney "dishonest," then ran it in front of reporters and TV cameras anyway. Now it turns out that the ad actually appeared on at least three Iowa TV stations that same day.
Update, Jan. 4: According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group of TNS Media Intelligence, the ad aired three times on the day Huckabee made his announcement, and it aired seven times in the following two days. As of Jan. 2, the most recent date for which CMAG has tallied information on the ad, Huckabee's attack ad had run four times on KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, and had appeared on Davenport stations WQAD-TV, three times; KLJB-TV, twice; and WHBF-TV, once.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
DES MOINES -- Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was a guest Wednesday on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" -- though he seemed earlier in the day not to know that he would be crossing a picket line to appear.I don't know which I find more disturbing: either he's completely clueless or he is a complete liar. We've already tried both of those traits in the White House -- in fact we've currently got a two-fer with George W. -- and it's not worked out so well.
Huckabee flew from Iowa to make the appearance, a day before the state's first-in-the- nation caucuses. The candidate made no mention of the Writers Guild strike during his appearance and instead joked about having lived in a "triple-wide" trailer when he was governor of Arkansas. The amateur musician also played his guitar in Leno's band.
Strike supporters outside the NBC studios carried signs calling Huckabee a scab. One read: "Huckabee you can't deny this cross."
The Leno show is among those being struck by the Writers Guild of America.
Separately, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made a brief taped appearance on David Letterman's show. But Letterman, who owns his own production company, broke from other producers and reached an accord with writers last week. There is no such deal with Leno's show.
Writers Guild strike coordinator Jeff Hermanson said there was "no doubt about it" that Huckabee would be crossing a picket line by appearing on Leno's show, which is not part of any settlement.
Democratic candidates have vowed to honor the writers' picket line.
Earlier Wednesday, Huckabee, while campaigning in Iowa, said he did not believe he would be crossing a picket line to appear with Leno because he thought writers had settled their differences with the late-night shows.
"My understanding is that there was a special arrangement made for the late-night shows, and the writers have made this agreement to let the late-night shows to come back on, so I don't anticipate that it's crossing a picket line," Huckabee told journalists.
When reporters noted that the writers settled with only Letterman's show, Huckabee protested: "But my understanding is there's a sort of dispensation given to the late-night shows, is that right?"
Huckabee added that he supports the writers, "unequivocally, absolutely."
From their "Whoppers of 2007" post:
Presidential candidates kept us busy:
Republican Rudy Giuliani made false claims over and over about his record as mayor of New York, and even about England's health care system.Read more about the facts behind these false statements at FactCheck.org.
Democrat Bill Richardson also mangled the facts repeatedly, claiming credit for creating more jobs as New Mexico's governor than actually materialized and using a made-up figure about the performance of U.S. students, among other misstatements.
Republican Mitt Romney claimed undeserved credit for himself as governor of Massachusetts and made false or misleading claims about two of his rivals.
Democrat Hillary Clinton ran an ad claiming that National Guard and Reserve troops had no health insurance before she went to work, when in fact most of them did.
Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee repeatedly twisted the facts when talking about his record on taxes in Arkansas and other subjects. And there were plenty of other howlers from the large field of candidates.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Tragic story for everyone involved, yes, including the tiger. Given the headline in the New York Post, I would say, especially the tiger:
TIGER BROTHERS HAD SLINGSHOTSJust the New York Post, you say? Well here's an odd development from the local ABC News affiliate:
January 1, 2008 -- SAN FRANCISCO - Two brothers who were injured when a tiger attacked them at the San Francisco Zoo had slingshots on them at the time, a source said.
An empty vodka bottle was also found in a car used by Amritpal Dhaliwal, 19, and his brother, Kulbir, 23, on the day of the mauling, which left 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. dead, according to the source.
The discoveries could be an indication that the brothers may have taunted the 350-pound Siberian tiger before it leapt from its grotto.
Tiger-attacked brothers hire legal pit bullSure, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And everyone deserves competent legal representation. Some of the poor folks who have hired Geragos to help them in their times of woe include:
The brothers who survived the vicious tiger attacks at San Francisco Zoo last week have hired legal pit bull Mark Geragos in anticipation of filing a lawsuit against the zoo.
And although he didn't represent Mark Vick, noted dog killer, he did offer this advice on one of his many t.v. interviews (the man can't see a camera without doing an interview): Geragos said Vick and his defense team should be thinking about casting a positive light on the quarterback. "The best thing is to put a good face on the matter, do something charitable immediately," said Geragos.
And lo and behold, Gergaos is now saying this about his tiger brother clients: they were simply good samaritans, trying to get help for their dying friend:
Attorney: Zoo guard ignored plea for help
According to Geragos, the tiger initially attacked Sousa and Paul Dhaliwal about 4:30 p.m. While Sousa was seriously hurt, Paul Dhaliwal escaped, and he and his brother ran 300 yards to a zoo cafe where they had eaten earlier.I want to know more about the slingshots and vodka .... Geragos?
The brothers then spotted a female security guard who appeared "diffident" when told of the escaped tiger, Geragos said.
"Who knows what would have happened if the guard had acted earlier?" Geragos said. "But Carlos would have stood a better chance of not dying. And maybe the police would not have shot the tiger as well."
A new national study of voters who say they might vote in Democratic primaries and caucuses shows a striking disconnect between their explicit and implicit preferences, according to University of Washington researchers.The study, part of Harvard University's Project Implicit is called the Implicit Association Test. I've taken the test previously on issues of racism, and found it interesting, and challenging. Basically, you are given words and asked to quickly (i.e., without thinking about it) respond favorably or unfavorably. I took the presidential candidate test (for Democratic candidates only -- I don't need to know who I rate most unfavorably among the Republicans). Below are my results:
When asked who they would vote for, Sen. Barack Obama held a 42 percent to 34 percent margin over Sen. Hilary Clinton. Former senator John Edwards was in third place with 12 percent. However, when the same people took an Implicit Association Test that measures their unconscious or automatic preferences, Clinton was the runaway winner, the favored candidate of 48 percent of the voters. Edwards was second with 27 percent and Obama had 25 percent.
I wasn't surprised at the order, but I was surprised at far below the rest I rated Obama. Like those mentioned in the study, I would have said I was sort of "on the fence" about the Clinton-Obama rivalry, but my implicit responses indicate that's not so. Clearly, my lingering doubts about Obama's experience level and ability to lead on an international level continue to linger.
You can take the test here. It only takes about 10 minutes, and I would be curious to hear back from you about your results.
I was a child during the Vietnam War, but I remember the images of battle on our little black and white t.v. I remember my mother worrying that maybe my brothers and I shouldn't be watching this level of violence. That was on the evening news. Who is reporting on the violence facing our our soldiers today? No one! When you turn on the evening news today, you will see soundbites of the presidential candidates, possibly with one of them strolling through a market in Baghdad -- escorted by the military, of course. Or you will see images of politicians -- U.S. and Iraqi -- sitting in big chairs talking. That's the face of war?
Please don't forget the realities of the Bush Administration's war. The family and friends of this young man never will.
Sgt. Bryan J. Tutten
From the U.S. Department of Defense:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Bryan J. Tutten, 33, of St. Augustine, Fla., died Dec. 25 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his position during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
From the Daily Kos:
Bryan Tutten was the only child of Sylvia Smallwood of St. Johns and the late Thomas Robert Tutten of Vilano Beach, the Florida Times-Union reports. He grew up in his native St. Augustine, went to St. Augustine High School, and attended St. Johns River Community College. He married his high school sweetheart and had worked at various occupations, including restaurant chef and landscaper before joining the army when he was 27. And he was an avid sportsman who loved to fish and cook.
The Tutten family suffered another loss in 2001, when Tutten's father, a popular artist and musician in St. Augustine, drowned while trying to retrieve a raft for some children he had rescued from the surf when they were playing on the beach, the Florida Times-Union reports.
Bryan Tutten leaves behind his wife of 10 years, Constandina Peterson Tutten; his daughter, Catherine, who was born during his first tour of Iraq and will be four years old tomorrow, on New Year’s Eve; and his son, Gareth, who will be one year old in May. Tutten is also survived by his grandmother Jeannette McSwain of Conyers, Georgia, and members of the Peterson family.
"Those who are hostile, even unknowingly, to the institution of the family ... make peace fragile for the entire national and international community," the Pope told crowds gathered in a sunny St. Peter's Square.The irony, of course, is that internationally so many gays and lesbians are in fact involved in the peace movement. If only the Pontiff would turn his peace-lovin' attention toward the religious right who preach hate and intolerance. That is the true threat to "the very foundations of peace," sir.
"I wanted to shed light on the direct relationship that exists between the family and peace in the world," the Pope said.
"The family is the primary agent of peace and the negation or even the restriction of rights of the family ... threatens the very foundations of peace."
“Your Luck Is About To Change”
(A fortune cookie)
Ominous inscrutable Chinese news
to get just before Christmas,
considering my reasonable health,
marriage spicy as moo-goo-gai-pan,
career running like a not-too-old Chevrolet.
Not bad, considering what can go wrong:
the bony finger of Uncle Sam
might point out my husband,
my own national guard,
and set him in Afghanistan;
my boss could take a personal interest;
the pain in my left knee could spread to my right.
Still, as the old year tips into the new,
I insist on the infant hope, gooing and kicking
his legs in the air. I won't give in
to the dark, the sub-zero weather, the fog,
or even the neighbors' Nativity.
Their four-year-old has arranged
his whole legion of dinosaurs
so they, too, worship the child,
joining the cow and sheep. Or else,
ultimate mortals, they've come to eat
ox and camel, Mary and Joseph,
then savor the newborn babe.
— Susan Elizabeth Howe
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Well, one of the reasons why I personally use this time of year to make changes in my life is that I have the time now. I feel very fortunate to work in academia, where I have off from Christmas to New Year's without burning any vacation days. I don't know why, but when I take vacation days from work, I always feel pressure to be "doing something." I should take a trip somewhere. If I take a vacation day and stay at home and vacuum, I get depressed because I feel I've "wasted" the day. While I haven't vacuumed this week (today might be the day, though), I have been sorting through old papers, putting up bookshelves, taking the dog on long walks, and relaxing.
So it's been wonderful to have this time off to re-organize myself. I still have to go through some old magazines and catalogs lying around and make the bold decision to put them in the recycling. I'm telling myself that this is all a part of "living simply," but it's hard! My other half wants to start doing stained glass projects in our spacious basement, so we cleared out boxes and boxes of things that we ended up taking to Salvation Army. We've been in our house for 4 and half years, and I guess if there are items we never used -- or even unpacked -- in that time, they might be more useful to someone else. At least that's how I consoled myself over giving up the ski boots, which I have not worn in probably 10 years now.
My new year's resolutions are probably boringly familiar:
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Eat healthier foods
- Get more exercise
- Put more money into my savings
- Stay calm in the face of insidious lying politicians -- of any party
- Reduce the amount of material I add to the landfill
- Hold the door open for the person behind me, without getting upset if they don't say "thank you"
- Plant more flowers this spring
- Take nothing in life for granted
Sunday, December 30, 2007
From The Ledger:
DAYTONA BEACH | A police officer used a stun gun to zap a yoga instructor who yelled at her in a crowded department store, drawing questions about the non-lethal weapon's use.
Elizabeth Beeland, 35, went to a Daytona Beach Best Buy on Nov. 26 to purchase a CD player for her father. Her lawyer said she stepped outside the store when she received an emergency call about her daughter, leaving her credit card behind.
A store clerk suspected Beeland was using a stolen card and called over Daytona Beach Police Officer Claudia Wright, who was at the store.
When Wright approached Beeland, she became "verbally profane, abusive, loud and irate," Wright reported.
In a video posted on the Daytona Beach News-Journal Web site, Beeland is seen backing away and avoiding Wright before crumpling to the floor after being hit with the Taser's 50,000 volts.
She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer without violence.
The "Don't taze me bro" story from earlier this year got lots and lots of attention and outrage at the time. Unfortunately we were all subjected to repeated showings of the young man badgering John Kerry at the Florida speech, and I guess eventually we all thought, well, he was getting kinda obnoxious. After watching the video over and over again, well, tasing started to seem almost reasonable. I at least wanted to flick him in the forehead.
But here we have a woman who's in the pre-Christmas shopping nightmare that is Best Buy, and she mouths off to a security guard. And that's enough to get her tased?! Good lord almighty! What's next -- Customer Service will have a handy taser behind the counter for when customers get upset about an expired 30 day warranty?
I emphasized the final sentence in the news story because this is where your civil rights just gasped their last sigh: She was not violent, yet she was tased. The arresting officer said the woman was "verbally profane, abusive, loud and irate."
Sister, I taught six years of middle school. Do you know how many hundreds of students I would have tased if that were the benchmark? There was a time in this country when we were allowed to be an irate customer. Have we become so afraid of the terrorist shadow that even that little slice of our lives has been taken away?
I, for one, plan to continue to be an irate customer when warranted. But I guess I'd better invest in one of those t-shirts: "Don't tase me, bro!" for whenever I hit the mall.