Columbus Day, 2006: Blogging with a cold
So, it is blogging for me; I hope to be back to some sort of light working out in a couple of days.
I also watched much of the Cowboy-Eagle game and was reminded of how final scores can be deceptive. The final was 38-24 Eagles. And yes, the Eagles were the better team. But, what the score doesn't say is that Dallas was down 31-24 and had the ball on the Eagle 7 yard line with 38 seconds left; after an incomplete pass the Eagles intercepted a pass in their own end zone and ran it back for a touchdown.
Of course, Dallas got a similar touchdown earlier in the game; the point is that Dallas had a bona fide chance to tie or win the game with well less than a minute to go.
In college ball, I am still giddy over how Texas dominated Oklahoma. The Texas-Oklahoma game is played in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas; the stadium is divided at the 50 yard lines with one half being Texas, the other being Oklahoma.
If the game is one sided (as it was two years ago), it is fairly easy to see who is winning. Look a the end zone, and look at the stands. I've been to a couple of these (one UT win, one UT loss) and they are lots of fun.
Bruce, our resident voyeur, suggested that the pretty female yogis ought to wear something less distracting:
By the way, Bruce employs this lass as a yoga teacher:
Oh well. I suppose that I should be grateful that I have mostly out of shape middle aged folks in my yoga classes; concentration on my poses is seldom a problem. Though, once I did get startled when one of the fitter women was right ahead of me in "child" and was wearing very tight spandex. I looked up to see her labium staring me in the face. I kind of just put my head down...
Tucker Carlson says it aloud. The Republican elite has contempt for the evangelicals.Go ahead and read the whole article; it is quite good. Even better are the comments. You'll see: "oh, but the Democrats have contempt for the evangelicals as well." Funny, but any honest analysis will show that this society is badly tilted toward "the believers" and NOT toward the agnostic/atheist/secular crowd. To see that, ask yourself what chance any openly atheistic person would have in, say, a governor's, Congressional, or a Senate election.
by Margie Burns
The Sunday morning talk shows today, October 8, 2006, included some refreshingly frank or realistic discourse, for a rarity.
Probably most attention tomorrow will be devoted to Bob Woodward narrating how Vice President Cheney used the bullshit word and hung up on him. Possibly some attention will go to the congressional tin ear from Illinois, GOP Congressman Ray LaHood, talking about the Foley scandal: “The real disservice was done to the speaker.”
But for my money, the real jaw dropper this morning was Tucker Carlson finally saying publicly what millions of us have known for years: “The Republican elite has contempt for the evangelicals.”
The commentary centered around the Mark Foley scandal and attendant ironies, that a member of Congress who for years ostentatiously paraded his concern for children and for youth has solicited, also for years, the sexual attentions of teenagers, and not just any teenagers, but teenaged pages specifically under the protection of Congress. Furthermore, all signs indicate that the entire top GOP leadership of Congress, even while campaigning aggressively in some bogus morality posture, either covered up for Foley or at best deliberately avoided knowing enough of his activities to do anything about them.
To call this hypocrisy is just an insult to hypocrites.
As I have said before, this is not hypocrisy. It is deliberate imposture. It is analogous to the current White House policy of pouring gasoline on the flames in geopolitics, under the guise of fighting terrorism, when as it well knows, its policies ignite terrorism, from which it profits. In the ratios of the Miller Analogy Test, Mark Foley is to protecting children what George W. Bush is to protecting Americans. If they really wanted less terrorism, they would eliminate cluster bombs and land mines.
But of all the commentators on all three major television networks, none to my knowledge has made the basic connection, until today. Carlson made the basic, direct statement that for years has needed making. “Everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals,” he continued under questioning. When asked, “How do you know?” in response to his initial claim about the GOP, he gave the unequivocal answer: “Because I see them.” As Carlson said, he works with them, meaning members of the power elite or the opinion makers. He has moved among them for years. “They live on my street.”
Following up the statements that “The Republican elite has contempt for the evangelicals,” and “Everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals,” he continued, “and “everybody knows that. The evangelicals are beginning to figure it out.”
What came home for this viewer is that on a more modest scale I have seen the same thing. Certainly not all Republican women, or all women who sometimes vote Republican, feel the same way on social issues. And some of the most rockribbed longtime Republican women voters, at least those of my acquaintance, who also tend to be economically well off or affluent, are exactly the individuals most dismissive of the party line on social issues. They let the men talk, but if a woman or girl they care about or to whom they are related wants an abortion, they are highly unlikely to let the men stand in the way. Or even to let the men know, if that’s the way to play it.
As for the public pronouncements of their party, and the most prominent of their professional religious spokesmen, they roll their eyes. I have seen them do it. You do not get more eyerolling about the Reverend Mr. Pat Robertson or about the unreverend Ralph Reed anywhere than in the nearest lunch of Republican women at the local country club, and the only people who seem not to know it are the people whose faithful votes keep the corporate hogs in office. So the GOP agenda accomplishes its real objectives such as keeping plaintiffs out of court, letting insurance companies off the hook on large claims, raiding or undermining pension funds, bailing out the top management of mismanaged industries, and preventing any progressive taxation whatever for billionaires. Meanwhile, the rare genuine voter of rightwing conscience who gets into office, like GOP Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, could not be more sidelined if he were a high schooler trying to play in the NFL. I have said it before. The only real purpose regarding abortion for this administration is to splinter what would otherwise have been moral opposition to its policies, domestic and foreign.
On another note, a Kossak (nyceve) wrote a nice diary on healthcare: she gives real life examples that people have e-mailed to her.
We're spending an awful lot of time to scrutinize in appalling detail the sordid emails and titillating instant messages between Mark Foley and underage boys. Wouldn't it be amazing if the media focused with equal intensity on another shame: the healthcare nightmares of the American people?
Since the media, pundits, and the political class don't give a rat's ass about much of anything but sex scandals, maybe you'd like to take a few moments to read about the grief fellow Kossacks write to me about day in and day out.
I regularly receive emails from Kossacks in response to my healthcare diaries. They are unfailingly honest, bleak, and heartbreaking.
These voices are crying into the black void. They are a window into the world of hurt and suffering that is afflicting ordinary Americans across the country.
I don't think I'm violating the privacy of anyone by sharing these anonymous testimonials about our depraved and broken healthcare system, to keep them private would be a disservice to all Americans.
We have some interesing races going on. One is for state Representative: this pits incumbent Republican Aaron Schock vs. challenger Bill Spears. The local paper puts it this way:
Sunday, October 8, 2006
Two years ago, at age 23, Aaron Schock toppled an eight-year incumbent to earn his seat in the Illinois House. The district had been a Democratic stronghold for years, and the loss took the party by surprise.Frankly, Spears is being outspent; there are Schock signs everywherer and his ads are frequenly on television. Schock is much more telegenic. But Spears' mailings might prove effective; he is painting Schock as a typical pro-business Republican and is pointing out that he (Spears) will fight the upcoming massive utility bill increase. This message has a great deal of appeal to those who are currently struggling to make ends meet.
Then-Rep. Ricca Slone had achieved her own upset against longtime Democratic Rep. Donald Saltsman in the 1996 Democratic primary.
Both Slone and Schock spent heavily on the Illinois House race, pumping about $1.7 million combined into their campaigns.
The Democrats - local and statewide - were not happy to lose that seat and vowed to get it back. After Chicago House Speaker Michael Madigan interviewed several prospective candidates, the field was cleared for 4th District City Councilman Bill Spears.
Spears has been canvassing neighborhoods for nearly a year now, asking constituents for their support, including many Democrats who had supported Schock over Slone in 2004.
This race is shaping up to be expensive and combative. Spears rolled out his first negative radio and mail attack ads late last month and then spent thousands on television commercials. Schock has been on the airwaves for several weeks.
While the money rolls, this campaign, in the end, is being fought on the streets, door-to-door, face-to-face with voters.
Of course, some of the responses are arrogant beyond belief:
And Nichole Handy, a certified credit counselor at Central Illinois Debt Management and Credit Education, offers more specific suggestions along that line: Unplug electrical equipment when you aren't using it. Line-dry clothes. Hand-wash dishes or make sure you run a full load in the dishwasher. Use energy-saving light bulbs. Take shorter showers. Maintain your heating and cooling equipment.See? People are completely clueless as to how a great many of our fellows live.
But Handy also acknowledges that many people already do those things. They still don't have the money. While it may be tempting to stave off the rate hike as long as possible, adding another 6.5 percent to your bill makes no budget sense. She suggests you start tracking small expenses you can cut, and do it now.
"It's called the "latte effect," she said of our tendency to spend a lot of money on small luxuries. "I've done it myself. You spend $5 a day. It doesn't seem like much, but over the course of a month it adds up."
You might not want to steer away from Starbucks, cut your cable TV or silence your cell phone. But you may not have a choice.
Anyway, getting back to the Spears-Schock race: who would you trust more to stand up to the utility companies: the Republican pro-business Schock, or Spears? Easy choice.
The Peoria Pundit points out that the local paper is giving much more favorable coverage to Schock and is overlooking some things, such as Schock's inconsistencies over tax policies or his trying to campaign at taxpayer expense.
Sunday, October 8, 2006
After listening to last Monday's debate between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, there's only one conclusion to draw: Blagojevich should schedule a lot more debates.
It's not that Blagojevich rose to the occasion; he didn't. It was that Topinka was so unfocused, she managed to do the near-impossible. She made Blagojevich look gubernatorial.
Throughout the debate, Topinka seldom stayed on one thought long enough to finish before launching into something else. If you follow state government news very closely, you might have been able to figure out what she was getting at, but even we had trouble keeping up at times.
Case in point: the controversy over the property tax assessment on Blagojevich's Chicago house. The story had only recently broken in two Chicago-area newspapers and hadn't yet made its way into the downstate media.
Yet Topinka launched into the topic as though the story and its complicated details were common knowledge to the radio debate's listeners. She went on about how Blagojevich is taxed at 1 percent while everyone else is taxed at 30 percent, something confusing to any property owner who knows that neither figure is true. In fact, the controversy had to do with the assessed value of Blagojevich's house going up 1 percent while his neighbors got hit with 30 percent hikes. But good luck figuring that out from what Topinka said.
U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood agrees that not since he presided over the impeachment hearings of former President Bill Clinton has he received as much media attention as he did last week.Mr. LaHood is in denial and is embarrasing his district. It turns out that Foley had been attracting attention due to his behavior since 2000: (and of course, note that our dear Mr. LaHood has been quoted)
And he didn't even do anything.
Well, nothing bad, not like former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who resigned after it became public that he sent lurid e-mails and instant messages to teenage House pages. All LaHood did was be willing to offer his opinion on the scandal - something a lot of Republicans weren't so eager to do.
The result was a flood of press inquiries - from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, CNN, National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times and so on. He was even on Larry King Live, a first for the Peoria Republican.
"I probably did 25-30 interviews," LaHood said, with a call from Time Magazine still pending. "I didn't initiate any calls to the media or put out a written statement or press release."
Instead, LaHood believes the attention came because it's well known that he and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have been good friends for 20 years.
"People know I'm close to the speaker. (Also) there weren't a lot of Republicans who were willing to do interviews. I came out pretty strong and pretty early."
Despite the heat he's taken for saying the page program should be halted, LaHood has no regrets.
"I think I said the right thing, that there's a flaw in the system." (J.D.)
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 18 minutes ago
A Republican member of Congress confronted then-Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) about his Internet communications with teenagers as early as 2000, according to a newspaper report.
The report in the Washington Post pushes back by at least five years the date when a member of Congress acknowledges learning of the Florida Republican's questionable behavior toward pages.
It came as the Republican leadership attempted to present a united front on the congressional page scandal that has rocked the GOP a month before midterm elections and put House Speaker Dennis Hastert on shaky ground.
Though Rep. Adam Putnam (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., insisted Sunday that "the dirty laundry in our conference is gone," that claim appeared to be premature.
The Washington Post reported Sunday night that Rep. Jim Kolbe (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., confronted Foley about his Internet communications with teenagers as early as 2000.
The Post said that a former page showed Kolbe some Internet messages from Foley that had made the page uncomfortable. Kolbe's press secretary, Korenna Cline, told the Post that a Kolbe staff member advised the page last week to discuss the matter with the clerk of the House.
Hastert and his aides have been criticized for failing to act promptly after receiving warnings about Foley's questionable electronic communications with pages.
Hastert since has insisted he was not aware of the communications until recently. But on the day after Foley resigned, New York Rep. Tom Reynolds said he had told Hastert months ago about concerns that Foley had sent inappropriate messages. Reynolds now says he cannot remember exactly when he learned of Foley's e-mails or when he told Hastert about them.
One Republican lawmaker said Sunday that those who participated in a cover-up would have to resign.
"Anybody that hindered this in any kind of way, tried to step in the way of hiding this, covering it up, is going to have to step down. Whoever that is," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va.
The House ethics committee is investigating the matter. If it finds evidence of a cover-up, the punishment could range from a mild rebuke in a committee report to a House vote of censure or expulsion.
Hastert, R-Ill., last week tried to blame the Democrats and the news media for leaking the story but then accepted responsibility. He's resisted pressure to resign his speaker's post over his handling of the scandal.
"There's been a lot of ducking and dodging and diving and weaving," said Rep. Ray LaHood (news, bio, voting record), R-Ill. "There is a lot of fingerpointing that had gone on earlier in the week, but I do think people are behind the speaker now."