Prosecute the torture.

October 31, 2009

Why Don't Facts Matter To The Wingnut Right?

Case in point. Liz Cheney, Reality and Dover Air Force Base:

Crooks and Liars has a transcript.

Here's the gist of the latest GOP lie-fest. Liz Cheney (Dick's daughter) complained about President Obama's appearance at Dover Air Force Base:
I don't know why he went to Dover. I mean, I think that clearly it is very important for a commander-in-chief, whenever he can in whatever way it possible, to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers, our fallen military folks. But, I think, you know, what President Bush used to do was to it without the cameras, and I don't understand sort of showing up with the White House Press Pool with photographers and asking the family if you can take pictures.
The problem? O'Donnell points out:
President Bush never went to Dover Air Force Base to honor dead American soldiers on their final journey. And Vice President Cheney... never did either.
Why doesn't simple reality ever matter with these folks?

Oh, that's right. The President was born in Kenya. He's a socialist, a Muslim and the Anti-Christ. His administration is manipulating a government take-over of the Health Care System, a government take-over of economy, and will be manipulating a government take-over of the Internet. Then there's the fairness doctrine, the death panels, and the global warming hoax.

Have I left out anything else from the so-called "party of ideas"?

Happy Halloween!



(h/t to Gloria)
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October 30, 2009

A wise article on foolishness (local edition)

here
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Why I'm voting for Franco Dok Harris


It ain't just a vote against Lil Mayor Luke.


A few months ago I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Franco Dok Harris. His campaign had invited a group of progressive, activist women to have a conversation with the candidate. Can anyone imagine Ravenstahl doing this kind of outreach? Yes, I guess that is rhetorical.

The endorsements that Harris have received are telling: gay rights organization Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Pittsburgh, the Veterans Alumni Association of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania National Organization for Women. They speak to a candidate who is truly progressive.

His platform is also progressive. First, he has a positive vision for the City of Pittsburgh, but one which recognizes the problems that we face including: violence in our neighborhoods, a [city with a] history of actively excluding strong professional women from City Governance and a current administration who is unwilling to listen to those who feel they have no voice. He also is a candidate who cares about campaign finance reform and transparency.

Franco Dok Harris is a candidate with actual business and entrepreneurial experience who promises to focus on creating family-sustaining jobs and revitalizing our neighborhoods by empowering small-business owners.

He has a vision for a Pittsburgh which is not just green buildings, but also creating sustainable businesses and sustainable neighborhoods -- an actual platform for our future.

During our sit-down, I found a candidate who is sharply intelligent, knowledgeable, funny and self deprecating -- a world away from our present mayor.

And Kevin Acklin? I truly appreciate his focus on the Ravenstahl Administration's personal and corporate favoritism. He also has a compelling personal story. However, that story reminds me that here is a person who faced great financial hardships growing up, yet somehow came to the conclusion to become a Republican -- can you say cognitive dissonance? And, yes, he supported Santorum and Hart and only switched party affiliations right before running for mayor. (He's also someone who couldn't even beat a candidate who dropped out before an election). Moreover, Acklin is anti choice and I simply do not trust anti choice candidates as having my best interests at heart "pro life" personally but pro choice practically speaking but won't call himself pro choice or something like that (see comments).

For all these reasons, I will happily cast my vote on Tuesday for the person who I believe offers the best opportunity to actually move Pittsburgh forward:

Franco Dok Harris


***********************************************************************************

NOTE: The Other Political Junkie would like to add that he no longer lives in the City of Pittsburgh, but if he did, he would vote for Harris.
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Now This Is Surprising (Not).

From the Pew Center:
Nearly half of Americans (47%) say they think of Fox News as “mostly conservative,” 14% say it is “mostly liberal,” and 24% say it is “neither in particular.” Opinion about the ideological orientation of other TV news outlets is more mixed: while many view CNN and the three broadcast networks as mostly liberal, about the same percentages say they are neither in particular. However, somewhat more say MSNBC is mostly liberal than say it is neither in particular, by 36% to 27%.
And they have some art to show their work:

I find it interesting that they find that 14 percent of those questioned think Fox is "too liberal." As Kleefield over at TPM asks, "Who are these people?"

There's more. The view "Fox is conservative" is shared almost uniformly across the board:
The perception of Fox News as mostly conservative is shared equally by regular Fox News viewers and regular viewers of other TV news networks. Half of regular CNN viewers see the Fox News Channel as mostly conservative, as do 48% its own viewers, 48% of regular MSNBC viewers and 45% of the regular viewers of national nightly network news on ABC, NBC and CBS.
The people have spoken.

October 29, 2009

It's About Frickin Time!

From the P-G:
Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, announced today that she plans to step down, effective Nov. 16.

Ms. Buchanan has served in the post since September 2001, when she was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A news release from her office did not state whether she had made plans for the future.

There has been speculation that she could challenge Congressman Jason Altmire next year.
Oh I would LOVE for her to enter the race.

UPDATE: The P-G has more this morning.

October 28, 2009

Just in time for Halloween!

More family values: ex-S.C. GOP official caught with stripper in cemetery

(h/t to Spork)
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Onorato promises to veto any opt-out of Public Option if he's Governor

From an email from Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Executive and PA gubernatorial candidate:
Dear friends:

On Monday, the U.S. Senate announced that its most recent healthcare bill includes a provision that allows states to choose whether or not to offer a "public option." Basically, states will be able to decide whether or not to offer their residents access to low-cost health insurance.

As Governor, I will veto any effort by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to "opt out" of the public option.

It is critical for Pennsylvania's employers and workers that we help lower healthcare costs. I believe that the proposed public option will help expand competition and reduce prices while maintaining our current fee-for-service system.

Currently, Pennsylvania has one of the least competitive insurance markets in the country. A public option will even the playing field for Pennsylvania's families and encourage a transparent and competitive healthcare marketplace. Increasing competition among insurers and lowering costs for everyone is also important to being able to attract and retain companies in Pennsylvania.

A public option will change the insurance industry, lower prices and increase the quality of care.

A public option is absolutely vital to the health of every Pennsylvanian and every Pennsylvania business. As Governor, I pledge to fight for quality, affordable insurance for every Pennsylvanian by vetoing any opt-out from the public option.


Sincerely,
Dan Onorato

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Scaife's Brain Trust. Again.

AND they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel, news source wise. Take a look. In this week's "Midweek briefing" we read:
Writing in The Bulletin of Philadelphia, Herb Denenberg throws the F-bomb. Yes, Mr. Denenberg says the stench of fascism is growing stronger from the Obama administration. That's based on its use "of the vast resources of the federal government to squelch criticism and silence and intimidate critics." Well, what else would you call it, folks?
The Bulletin of Philadelphia? A newspaper that closed up shop for print news in June and is now only publishing once a week? That Bulletin? Such a powerhouse of journalism to depend on.

Here's an example of the truthiness of this Bulletin piece:
The Obama campaign warned that any critics in Missouri would be subjected to prosecution there if they voiced criticism that was not true. There was a "Barack Obama Truth Squad” made up of prosecutors and sheriffs to keep critics in line, promising rebuttals and prosecution in appropriate cases.
The source of this example?

The Scaife funded Media Research Center ($850,000 in money from the Sarah Scaife Foundation from 2006-2008).

The incestuous circle-jerk continues.

But let's take a look at the Newsbusters story in particular. Here's something interesting:
Well, there is a "truth squad." It's in Missouri. It includes prosecutors and sheriffs. Oh, and they have formed their truth squad to threaten and intimidate the critics of ..... Barack Obama.
Wait wait. Didn't the Bulletin at least imply that the Obama campaign had formed the squad? But look - Newsbusters itself said the Sheriffs and prosecutors formed it themselves.

The Bulletin can't even get the smear right.

Great great work from Scaife's Brain Trust. Truly amazing.

October 27, 2009

I just cleaned my cat's litter box.

Please send me a check for $100,000 for that inspirational and motivational anectdote.

Thanks!
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Interesting Spin From The P-G

Take a look. Headline reads:
Supreme Court candidate hits rival over contributions
And the first paragraph reads:
Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin has launched a sharp attack on Judge Jack Panella, her Democratic opponent for a state Supreme Court seat next Tuesday, claiming it was unethical for him to take $1 million in campaign contributions from trial lawyers, whose cases he rules on regularly.
Looks bad, huh? But wait:
Judge Melvin acknowledged that she accepted $100,000 from that group in the last reporting period, with an additional $25,000 listed on the latest report, which was given to the Department of State yesterday. But Judge Melvin maintained that there's a huge difference between the amount she accepted and the amount Judge Panella did.
Whah? She's accusing him of "pay to play" type corruption with an organization she also took money from? I thought this part exceedingly funny:
Judge Melvin said she favors limits on campaign contributions for judicial candidates, but did not specify what those limits should be. She did say, however, that "$1 million is too much, and I would definitely say $500,000 is too much."
I would guess she thinks $125,000 was just about right.

October 26, 2009

Harry Reid: Public Option (with state opt-out) will be in Senate Bill

You can read his prepared remarks here.

UPDATE: FDL explains the opt-out here.
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A "local politician, a political blogger and a political expert"...

...walk into a bar "question importance of Web presence in Valley elections" at the Valley News Dispatch.

Local politician = David Regoli, an attorney and Lower Burrell councilman

Political blogger = Me

Political expert = G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College
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Ignore the Post-Gazette and vote for Jack Panella for PA Supreme Court!


I'm being as charitable as possible when I say to the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Please! Put down the crack pipe!
(Or rename the paper. Oh, I don't know, something like "Trib Lite.")

Last week the P-G endorsed Lil Mayor Luke for the first time ever and now this week they've endorsed Judge Joan Orie Melvin, a Republican from Western PA, over Judge Jack A. Panella, a Democrat from Eastern PA.

In their endorsement, the P-G says:
Both have risen through the legal ranks, both have had distinguished careers and both are ranked highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In truth, either one would make an excellent Supreme Court justice.
So why do they give the nod to Orie Melvin? They chalk it up to wanting a judge from the West and say that they're "strike[ing] a small but important blow for gender balance by keeping the number of female justices at two."

Now anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I'm a feminist. They know that I've supported numerous women for office. They know that I defended Sarah Palin against those attacks that were purely sexist in nature.

That said, if it ever comes down to a male candidate who is good on issues that I care about versus a female candidate who isn't so hot on the issues, I have to go with the candidate who I agree with -- regardless of their gender -- every time.

So how does Judge Orie Melvin stack up on the issues? (And, yes, if you don't know already, the Judge is the sister of PA State Senator Jane Orie.)

According to the American Family Association of PA (courtesy of Sue from Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents) based on "Court Cases/Candidate Responses/Outside Sources" Orie Melvin is anti choice, anti gay, anti separation of Church and State and believes that Antonin Scalia is the Supreme Court Judge who most closely demonstrates her judicial philosophy.

Wow, P-G! Are you auditioning to become the Trib?

And, since half of the P-G's reasoning is based on gender, how exactly has Orie Melvin ruled on behalf of the distaff set?

Again from Sue, we know that Orie Melvin had no problem with a physician having sex with a woman he was treating for anxiety and depression which caused his patient’s psychological/emotional symptoms to worsen.

We also know this from the Pittsburgh City Paper:
He cites the 2007 case Toney v. Chester County Hospital, in which a pregnant woman received an ultrasound and was told her baby was fine. Opting for natural childbirth, she gave birth to a child with multiple severe disabilities. She wanted to sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress, but her suit was challenged. Panella and the Superior Court majority ruled that the case could go forward. (Her case will be heard by the state Supreme Court Dec. 2.) Orie Melvin was one of two dissenters.

Orie Melvin won't comment on the case, but counters Panella's example with another pregnancy case. In that suit, in which a mother alleged that an HMO's advice delayed her access to care, Orie Melvin voted to reverse a lower-court ruling that would have tossed the case out.
Let me decode that for you. In the first case someone who, let's say, is very anti choice and is funded by anti choicers would not want to think that any birth is anything other than a blessing from God. They also might think that the misread ultrasound was also a blessing because it might prevent a woman from making a truly informed decision about continuing her pregnancy.

Surely all this is enough to make many not want to vote for Orie Melvin, but wait, there's more.

There's also the issue of redistricting (which is why this race is getting even minimal attention).

Also from the City Paper:
From a partisan standpoint, there's another big issue at stake in this election: redistricting. After each U.S. Census, the state's new population figures force the legislature to change the boundaries of election districts, for Congressional seats and for both branches of the state legislature. The party in power often gets to redraw the map, with results that typically shore up their political advantage.

The state Supreme Court often appoints the last member of the five-person redistricting panel -- and the court may also rule on the fairness of those lines once drawn. After the 1990 district revamp, for example, 25 cases were filed against the plan in the state Supreme Court.

Democrats believe the court's choice in 2000 helped gerrymander U.S. House districts in the GOP's favor. The U.S. Supreme Court -- in a ruling that divided justices along party lines -- eventually ruled against the Democrats. State political observers are bracing for more such fights, especially since the state is likely to lose at least one Congressional seat after the 2010 Census.
How can we expect the "genial and fair-minded" Orie Melvin to rule with respect to any possible redistricting matters? From Gort42 (via Spork by way of Crooks and Liars):
In her previous visit to Wilkes-Barre in May she gave a long rambling speech to the local GOP faithful. In that speech she listed as one of her selling points was the upcoming redistricting after the 2010 Census telling the partisan crowd that they needed a Republican on the court to rule in favor of Republicans in any challenges to whatever plan emerges.

So much for Judges being above politics.
And, if all that wasn't enough, there's this web ad which was running on GrassrootsPA and which was paid for by the PA GOP:


The ad fliped from the above to a blue banner that said, "Hit them where it hurts. The voting booth! On Nov. 3rd, Vote for Supreme Court candidate Joan Orie Melvin and your Republican judicial ticket."

The ad has since been modified (no more mention of Obama or the hammer and sickle ☭) and Orie Melvin certainly did not put up the ad herself BUT, it is her party who ran the ad and it is the party that she represents.

At this point, you have to ask yourself how much of this did the P-G know when they vetted and endorsed Orie Melvin?

Now that you know all about her, I suggest you go directly to http://votejackpanella.com and donate whatever you can and vote for him on election day.

This race is extremely close. PA doesn't need our own Scalia on our Supreme Court -- even if she's a she from Pittsburgh.
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October 25, 2009

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack really shouldn't have begun his column this week with the lines from Marmion:
Oh what a tangled web we weave,
when first we practice to deceive.
Makes my job just too dang easy.

Here's what Jack wrote:
Democrats have been tying themselves into knots in their efforts to conceal from the public the true cost of Obamacare. Last Wednesday, their schemes came crashing down around Harry Reid's ears.

Democrats were heartened Oct. 7 when the Congressional Budget Office said the version of Obamacare drafted by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would cost "only" $829 billion over 10 years. The CBO had scored versions proposed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the leading House bill at more than $1 trillion.

Mr. Baucus achieved his apparent savings partly by omitting the "public option" dear to liberal hearts, partly by not covering all of the currently uninsured. But he achieved them mostly by front-loading tax increases and cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, but delaying most spending increases for two and a half years. Once the spending increases went into effect, they rapidly would overwhelm the "savings." By the 11th year, the Baucus bill would add massively to the deficit.
Now what do you think the CBO had to say about the deficit? In the letter to Senator Baucus dated October 7, 2009 the CBO writes:
According to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the Chairman’s mark, as amended, would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $81 billion over the 2010–2019 period. [emphasis added.]

The JCT is the "Joint Committee on Taxation" by the way.

But look closely at Jack's prose. He writes "by the 11th year" doesn't he? Why would he say that? Because CBO project is only for the next 10 years. How do I know that? It says so in the letter to Baucus. Here. Page 11:

Although CBO does not generally provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget projection period (2010 through 2019 currently), Senate rules require some information about the budgetary impact of legislation in subsequent decades, and many Members have requested CBO analyses of the long-term budgetary impact of broad changes in the nation’s health care and health insurance systems. However, a detailed year-by-year projection, like those that CBO prepares for the 10-year budget window, would not be meaningful because the uncertainties involved are simply too great. Among other factors, a wide range of changes could occur—in people’s health, in the sources and extent of their insurance coverage, and in the delivery of medical care (such as advances in medical research, technological developments, and changes in physicians’ practice patterns)—that are likely to be significant but are very difficult to predict, both under current law and under any proposal.
Having written that, the CBO does do some rough estimation:
All told, the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $12 billion in 2019, CBO and JCT estimate. After that, the added revenues and cost savings are projected to grow more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansion. Consequently, CBO expects that the proposal, if enacted, would reduce federal budget deficits over the ensuing decade relative to those projected under current law—with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range between one-quarter percent and one-half percent of GDP. The imprecision of that calculation reflects the even greater degree of uncertainty that attends to it, compared with CBO’s 10-year budget estimates. [emphasis added.]
What did Jack say again? That the Baucus bill would "massively add to the deficit."

It's my understanding that the good folks running the show over there at the P-G are suddenly sensitive to the charge (my charge, actually) that they're not fact-checking Jack Kelly.

How did he get away with this one?

With such a huge tangle in Jack's web of deception, I think I'll stop there. No need to proceed, right? Anyway, there's a game on in a few minutes, doncha know.

October 24, 2009

More On Daryl Metcalfe.

Not only is Daryl Metcalfe a crazie birther but he's a tenther as well!

Geez, this guy fires on all the wingnut cylinders, don't he?

First some of you may be asking, "What's a tenther?" According to this blogpost at the Wall Street Journal:
It describes those leaning on the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment to justify the shooting down of new federal legislation in the age of President Obama.
Then there's this from the American Prospect article cited by the WSJ blog:
Tenthers divine all this from the brief language of the 10th Amendment, which provides that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In layman's terms, this simply means that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers -- such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations -- and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress' authority. [emphasis added.]
Here's the 10th Amendment, by the way:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
And here's Daryl Metcalfe speaking at a tenther rally this past March:


He's speaking at a rally organized by State Rep Sam Rohrer in support of HR 95 whose short title goes something like this:
A Resolution claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers, serving notice to the Federal Government to cease and desist certain mandates, providing that certain Federal legislation be prohibited or repealed and directing distribution.
As Metcalfe is a co-sponsor of the bill and he spoke at the rally, we're pretty confident on his "tenther" pedigree.

Daryl Metcalfe is also an idiot.

About a minute in to the above clip, Metcalfe quotes Thomas Jefferson:
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down, that being the government, with the chains of the Constitution so the second, the government, will not become the legalized version of the first, the criminals."
So what's the problem?

Thomas Jefferson never said it. According to the Jefferson Encyclopedia:
So far we have been unable to locate such a statement in any of Jefferson's writings. He did employ the phrase "chains of the Constitution" at least once, however, in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798: "...in questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution..."
But now you may be thinking, hey maybe the Jefferson Encyclopedia is wrong and Metcalfe is STILL right.

Then why does this appear at Metcalfe's website?
It has been attributed to a Founding father to have said that "the two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down, that being the government, with the chains of the Constitution so the second, the government, will not become the legalized version of the first, the criminals."[Emphasis added.]
Note, of course, that the text on that page is from his remarks at that rally - in effect he's quoting himself - but somewhere between the rally and today (October 24, 2009) someone must've clued him in on the quotation. So he changed the text on the site.

The link to the speech is still there, though.

What an idiot.

October 23, 2009

More On Mike Pintek and Climate Change: Milloy Edition

Short blog post today.

I caught a few minutes of Pintek on KDKA last night. The section I caught dealt with a new poll out by the Pew Research Center (read about it here) and as an "expert" the ever-ernest Pintek had on Steven Milloy, who runs a website called junkscience.com.

So who is this Steven Milloy when he's at home? (Subtle Beatles reference in that last sentence - don't worry about it if you don't get it.)

According to sourcewatch.org:
Steven J. Milloy is a columnist for Fox News and a paid advocate for Phillip Morris, ExxonMobil and other corporations. From the 1990s until the end of 2005, he was an adjunct scholar at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.
I don't recall Pintek mentioning any of that, though I could be wrong. Pintek is nothing but fair and balanced when it comes to climate change (Subtle sarcasm in that last sentence - don't worry if you didn't hear it.)

Sourcewatch also says:
Milloy also runs the Advancement of Sound Science Center and the Free Enterprise Action Institute. Those two groups—apparently run out of Milloy’s home—received $90,000 from ExxonMobil.
Yea, Milloy's an objective expert on climate change. Of course.

October 22, 2009

VoteVets.org runs radio ad telling PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe to resign over traitor remarks

Veterans group VoteVets.org is paying for a locally broadcast radio ad, in conjunction with Operation Free, calling on PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) to resign over remarks he made that veterans who are fighting for energy security are “traitors.”

You can listen to it at:

http://votevets.org/tools/pages/files/DisshonoredCpit.mp3


Transcript:
Dishonored
:60 Radio Ad


ANNCR: Traitors. That’s what State Representative Daryl Metcalfe called decorated Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Traitors. Pittsburgh resident and Iraq war veteran Chuck Tyler.

Chuck Tyler: Representative Metcalfe. A lot of my friends never made it home from Iraq. Dishonoring us dishonors their memory. We deserve better – and so does Pennsylvania.

ANNCR: Metcalfe was attacking members of Operation Free; veterans whose goal is to make America more secure with clean energy and cut the flow of oil dollars to those who would do us harm. It’s a goal the Department of Defense, the CIA, and the National Intelligence Council all share.

Chuck Tyler: I’m not a traitor sir. I’m just a veteran doing what’s right to protect my country.

ANNCR: Call Representative Daryl Metcalfe at 717-783-1707 and tell him to resign - because attacking America’s patriots is the most unpatriotic thing you can do. A message from Operation Free. Paid for by Vote Vets Action Fund.

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"Where's Luke?" Harris hits Ravenstahl hard in new TV ad

Just WOW.

After watching the commerical below I thought that maybe it was just one of those Internet-only ads, but a press release tells me that it is running on Comcast.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXPIIdswslA)

I do have one quibble: Lil Mayor Luke also was a no show when it came to meetings and public hearing about action on a domestic violence police policy (see here, here and here). But to be fair, I don't think that there would have been any video clearly demonstrating this for the purposes of an ad.
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Pittsburgh Mayoral Debates, Round 2


Regarding last week's debate, I noted the following exchange:
The candidates are allowed to ask each other questions and Acklin asks Lukey, "Who are John Verbanac and Ed Grattan and what role do they play in your administration?" Lukey answers with "John Verbanac and Ed Grattan are friends of mine and they have no formal role in my administration."
The other shoe dropped last night when Acklin followed up with this:
"Our campaign has come into receipt of very specific documents and e-mails that prove that Mr. Verbanac has had a very intimate relationship with your administration," Mr. Acklin said to the mayor.

"He has written your speeches. He literally puts words into your mouth. He's called the shots on who you hire and fire. He advises you on city policies and developments. . ... It is very clear, Mr. Ravenstahl, that you lied to the people of this city on Saturday."

The mayor responded, "Your accusations are wrong, they're inappropriate and I think it shows the level to which apparently this campaign is going to go over the next couple of weeks, bringing private citizens into conversations, making accusations that are false like Kevin just did. ... I would just advise Mr. Acklin to be very, very careful."
Bram has excerpts of some of the emails at The Pittsburgh Comet.

If nothing else, they demonstrate that Verbanac has a profound relationship with and influence on Ravenstahl's Administration -- formal or not.

While the Acklin campaign has turned over the documents to the FBI has said that the documents were turned over to the FBI before the campaign received them, whether or not any actual illegalities occurred is unclear. Acklin has a press conference scheduled at his campaign headquarters this afternoon to speak about the contents of the Verbanac emails.

It's certainly been apparent for a while now that Acklin likes to play hardball. He's also good at it. If memory serves me correctly, Patrick Dowd had far more concrete ammunition against Lil Mayor Luke but couldn't get much traction. Which leads me to Franco Dok Harris.

It's sad to read in the P-G that after the debate:
While reporters shuttled between the mayor and Mr. Acklin, Mr. Harris, who turned in a solid debate performance, was largely ignored by the media.
It's a shame because I think that Harris provides a very positive vision for Pittsburgh, has progressive values like concerns for transparency and campaign finance reform, and yet, is not afraid to speak to issues like violence in the neighborhoods.

And, Luke? While he may have curbed his tendency towards tacky and juvenile public and semi public displays, he still comes off as an arrogant frat boy during the debates. Mr. Privilege. They may have had to talk Acklin down last night, but Lukey was constantly speaking out of turn. Also, when he talks about taxing college students and hospital patients, he seems to forget that many of them are actual Pittsburgh residents.

UPDATE: More on the Verbanic issue at Bob Mayo's blog.
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October 21, 2009

Hey, folks! Someone is going to run against Daryl Metcalfe!

He's announcing his candidacy a little earlier than he originally planned.

Just got this in an email from Zack Byrnes:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2009

Zack Byrnes to Announce Candidacy for 12th District State Representative Seat

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PA – Democrat Zack Byrnes will announce his candidacy for the 12th District state representative seat on Sunday, November 1st, 2009 at 2:00 PM at the Butler County Democratic Fall Event at South Butler Fire Hall.

Byrnes will challenge Representative Daryl Metcalfe, who has held the office for nearly 12 years. For Byrnes, the decision to run was made after Metcalfe’s most recent outburst against veterans. In an email to Operation FREE, a veteran’s group focused on the national security implications of climate change, Metcalfe called veterans supporting the organization traitors and compared them to Benedict Arnold.

“Government in a democracy is about cooperation in our communities. As Americans, we value diverse skills and perspectives. Attacking others, especially the brave men and women who serve our country in the military, simply for voicing their opinion is a dangerous precedent to set. Rep. Metcalfe’s behavior is not only disgraceful and demeaning to his office, it also wastes time and reduces his ability to work effectively on behalf of the 12th District’s residents,” said Byrnes.

A lifelong resident of Butler County, Byrnes will outline his vision for effective and efficient government, focusing on education, employment, and eliminating waste and corruption in his official announcement.

“On day one, I will introduce legislation to reduce the size of the state legislature, mandate 5% contributions towards health care benefits, and make public all expenses by state legislators. We’re all feeling the strain of a struggling economy, and our government needs adjust to this reality," said Byrnes.

Byrnes is no stranger to public service and tight budget constraints. As director of development and public relations with The Blind Association of Butler and Armstrong, Byrnes has striven successfully to serve the people of Butler County, even amidst budget and personnel cuts.

“Working with non-profits, you learn very quickly how to prioritize and accomplish important missions with extremely limited resources. As a state representative, I’ll bring these skills to Harrisburg and work to focus efforts on improving education and the economy in the 12th District," said Byrnes.

For more information, or to schedule an interview with Mr. Byrnes, please contact the candidate directly at byrnesforstaterep@gmail.com

More power to him!
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Rape as a pre-existing condition to denying health insurance

If it wasn't bad enough that many insurance companies consider pregnancy and being a victim of domestic violence a pre-existing condition, we can now add being raped to that list.

From HuffPo:
A Florida woman, who is a victim of sexual abuse, claims that rape was called a "pre-existing condition" by several health insurance companies, which would have disqualified her for care.

In 2002, Chris Turner, a health insurance agent from Tampa, Florida, was drugged and raped during a business trip. When she conferred with a doctor after her assault, Turner was prescribed preventative anti-HIV drugs, and she later entered counseling to help deal with the residual psychological effects of her rape.
After she left that company she sought to buy health insurance on her own and has found out that she can't because...she's actually used health insurance in the past to treat medical conditions.

Did you catch the part where she was a health insurance agent? Since she knew how the system worked, she only addressed her situation hypothetically when she was calling companies about coverage because she knew that, "If you're rejected for coverage once it can put a black spot on your insurance record and keep you from getting health insurance in the future."

So, we have health insurance companies who will not cover you if you've ever been ill, who will drop you when you become ill, and who will refuse to cover you if another company won't cover you.

Here's a definition of insurance:
A promise of compensation for specific potential future losses in exchange for a periodic payment. Insurance is designed to protect the financial well-being of an individual, company or other entity in the case of unexpected loss.
Does it sound like these health "insurance" companies actually have anything to do with insurance? Yet these are the same companies who cry that a public option would create competition. Actually, a public option would hopefully be a real *insurance* plan and not just some gigantic money-sucking scam whose main goal is to *not* provide insurance to people.

Honestly, I'm tired of even thinking about how horiffic these companies are so I'm going to momentarily loudly tune this all out or I may spontaneously combust.

UPDATE: While checking my links, I noticed that the article that I pulled the quotes from at HuffPo is gone and has been replaced with a different article on this subject.
.

2nd Pittsburgh Mayoral Debate Tonight

WHAT: Pittsburgh Mayoral Debate
WHEN: Tonight, Wednesday, October 21, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
WHERE: On your teevee (WTAE)
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Sign the petition to demand that Daryl Metcalfe apologize for calling our vets "traitors"

...Yes, I'm recycling this image because:

1. It still holds true

2. It's environmentally conscious to recycle so it's one more thing for Metcalfe to hate

3. It's the first image to come up when you google image "Daryl Metcalfe" HA!
Just a reminder that aside from hating on veterans and being a birther, PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) has also hated on gays, Muslims, voters and measures to prevent domestic violence.

Finally! A Western PA politician who makes Lil Ricky Santorum look almost sane.

You can call for Metcalfe to apologize for calling our veterans "traitors" here (courtesy of Keystone Progress).
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More On Daryl Metcalfe (He's Got Teh Crazie)

Here's Dennis Roddy in the P-G:
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican firebrand from Cranberry known for controversial remarks, yesterday refused to back down on comments in which he suggested a group of veterans were "traitors" for promoting a message about climate change.
And:
Rep. Metcalfe, who served in the U.S. Army from 1980-84, defended the remarks, saying "if the type of policies that an individual promotes undermines the Constitution and the law of the land in our country, then they are not patriots." He said cap-and-trade proposals on carbon emissions interfere with the rights of businesses and states and violate Constitutional principles. "It looks like, from their violent reaction from their statement, they haven't disputed that it's leftist propaganda," he said of the veterans group.

One member of the group, Alex Cornell Du Houx, a decorated Marine combat veteran who joined in the battle of Fallujah three years ago, said he was troubled by Mr. Metcalfe's remarks.

"It's disappointing that a fellow service member would make such comments. We're just waiting for him to have a chance to apologize for those remarks," Mr. Du Houx said.

He said both the Department of Defense and the U.S. Marine Corps have begun programs to reduce carbon emissions in their own facilities. "The unfortunate reality is that he stands opposed to our military leaders. They know this is a threat and he should, too."

A buncha Commie pinkos, those Marines.

Roddy then reminds his many readers of a few of Metcalfe's other "controversial" statements.

Like this one:
Mr. Metcalfe previously triggered controversy this year when he opposed a resolution declaring Domestic Violence Awareness month in Pennsylvania because, in addition to the mention of those abused by spouses, the resolution included a reference to men suffering domestic abuse as well. Mr. Metcalfe said he interpreted that to mean people involved in homosexual relationships and said he would not support it because it "had a homosexual agenda."
Or this one:
Last year he refused to support a vote to honor the 60th anniversary of a Muslim group in the state because "Muslims don't recognize Jesus Christ as God."
Got me to thinking, I wondered what the other paper in town (the one with all the conflicts of interest on its editorial board) had to say about the odious Metcalfe?

Here's Eric Heyl today:
Whatever your thoughts might be on global warming, branding as traitors soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan because they exercised their free speech rights is extreme.
And Eric Heyl in April of 2006:
Let's Metcalfe for a moment today.

Observant readers might have noticed that I just transformed Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe's last name into a verb. For this column's purposes, the word is defined as wantonly engaging in acts of stupefying redundancy.

When Eric Heyl think's you're extreme and has verbified your name into something that uses the phrase "stupefying redundancy," it's time to up the meds or check your meds or go see someone to prescribe you better meds or something because man, you've got teh crazie.

And oh yea, he's a birther:
"As a veteran and an elected official who takes an oath of office, just like every past and future President of the United States, to uphold and defend the Constitutional rights of the citizens I represent, it is greatly perplexing and beyond troubling that a political candidate can ascend to the White House without providing sufficient documentation verifying his or her place of birth or American citizenship," state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County) said in a statement. "This legislation is intended to send the message that even those candidates who are running for our nation's highest office are not above the law."
Teh Crazie continues.

October 19, 2009

Being gay is a choice, religion is not

According to House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) spokesperson being gay is a choice while religion is not a choice.

Uh huh.

That makes about as much sense as when Justice Scalia argued that the cross did not represent Christianity but was some sort of universal symbol to honor any and all war dead.

What is it about religion that makes some people divorce reality and logic? Never mind. Forget I asked that.
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October 18, 2009

Just a reminder

Just a reminder that when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette declares this in today's less-than-ringing endorsement of Lil Mayor Luke
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who was not endorsed by the Post-Gazette in the Democratic primary, is being challenged by two independents: Franco Dok Harris of Shadyside and Kevin Acklin of Squirrel Hill. [Emphasis added]
...that they had to remind folks back during that primary that they had not endorsed Lukey for that race despite what his campaign fliers falsely implied then.

Maybe Lukey actually does have a " vision for the future" vision of the future.


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Richard Mellon Scaife, The Sarah Scaife Foundation, And The Tribune-Review's Editorial Board

In an e-mail this morning, an astute reader reminded me of the rather intimate connection between the sources Richard Mellon Scaife's editorial board cites and the man himself, by way of the money flowing from the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

Initially I wasn't going to write about this today (it's my ANNIVERSARY, for Jebus' sake!) but as I have a little free time, I thought what the heck?

Following the money, it certainly looks to be a rather incestuous circle-jerk over there at the Trib.

For instance, from this PDF taken from their website, we learn that Richard Mellon Scaife is the Chairman of the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

We also learn, for instance, that in 2008, the Foundation gave $200,000 to an organization called the American Civil Rights Institute.

The Trib's editorial board, incidentally, mentions the ACRI in this editorial from January 7, 2008:
Ward Connerly, founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, has begun a campaign to put ballot initiatives before voters in these states this fall to ban their ["affirmative action"] programs. It's the latest move in his slowly successful crusade to eradicate such race- and gender-based policies nationwide.
With no mention of the 200 large.

Then there's this interview with Frank Gaffney, President of the "Center for Security Policy (and incidentally self-described member of "the Dick Cheney Fan Club"). There's no mention of the $300,000 the CSP received from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2008, the $300,000 it received in 2007, or the $350,000 in 2006.

Close to a million dollars in three years from a Richard Mellon Scaife-controlled foundation and there's no mention of it in a Richard Mellon Scaife-owned newspaper?

Shouldn't there be?

There's more:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has received $350,000 in 2008, $275,000 in 2007, and $350,000 in 2006. That's $975,000 in three years and no mention of it here:
The first casualty of "climate change" rhetoric continues to be the truth. Take, for instance, President Obama's speech to the United Nations on Tuesday. Myron Ebell, the noted director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, documents at least four misrepresentations...
Or here:
Newly released Treasury Department figures on the cap-and-trade climate bill reveal a potential government windfall of up to $200 billion annually in federal receipts, far in excess of what the Obama administration originally projected.

And that would cost the average American household about $2,000 annually, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which requested the Treasury data from March under the Freedom of Information Act.

Or here:
In mid-August, CRU destroyed raw data for its global surface temperatures findings, allegedly because of limited storage space, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
By the way, that last one? They got the story almost completely wrong.

And that's just the beginning of the alphabet.

Gotta go, game's on.

Not With a Bang, But A Wimper...

The P-G endorses Mayor Luke (or maybe just Yarone and the gang).

After describing Luke's two opponents, the P-G praises by the process of elimination:

Both Dok Harris and Kevin Acklin are informed, committed Pittsburghers. While they could have an impact as City Council members, it's hard to argue that either has a shot at winning the mayor's office and the ability to take charge of the city's $453 million budget and 3,500 employees.

That leaves the incumbent, with whom we have had our differences. After three years as mayor, he has yet to articulate a vision for the future. He does not have a reputation for working with the state legislative delegation. And he needs to put some distance between himself and the party machine, to generate independent thinking for Pittsburgh's growth and progress.

Even when they get around to praising Luke, it's obvious they're not exactly cheering for him:
Even so, Mr. Ravenstahl, 29, has shown growth in the job. Despite a bumpy start including a few ethical lapses after taking office upon the death of Bob O'Connor, the Summer Hill resident has proved that a smart staff can focus an administration on key priorities.
Ethical lapses like lying about being handcuffed at Heinz field, the Homeland Security SUV and stalking Tiger Woods - but I digress.

In any event, I guess Yarone should be happy with that last line. It's not Luke who's doing such an admirable job, so says the P-G, it's his staff. They continue the backhanded compliments to Luke and the real compliments to Yarone:

In this weak field of candidates, Luke Ravenstahl is the obvious choice on Nov. 3. Like any other officeholder, though, he should not view the job as an entitlement because other elections will bring more substantial opposition.

While his service as mayor remains a work in progress and his growth in office must continue, Mr. Ravenstahl has been well served by various aides in his administration, including a capable chief of staff. It is incumbent on the mayor to assemble more top talent on the city's behalf, for this is a pivotal time and nothing less than the future is at stake.

An endorsement is an endorsement, but I'm not sure Luke should be pleased with this one - that is, if he understands it at all.

October 17, 2009

Today's Pittsburgh Mayoral Debate Available Online Now


While the debate between incumbent Democrat Lil Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and independents Franco Dok Harris and Kevin Acklin (moderated by Ken Rice and Jon Delano) won't air on KDKA until Noon today, you can watch it online now at:

http://kdka.com/video/?id=63992@kdka.dayport.com

Here's my thoughts on the debate:
  • Lukey claims he's taking this campaign seriously, but I notice that his campaign web site appears not to have been updated since May.

  • Acklin and Ravenstahl both seem to be far more up the butts of the police while Harris raises concerns about their actions during the G-20.

  • Acklin mentions that he was for the expansion of an "anti-discrimination bill" up before County Council and how that cost him among Republicans but he somehow leaves out that the expansion was all about teh gays. Is he having it both ways with the teevee audience who will likely not look this up or is this a genuine oversight?

  • On explaining why he's running as an independent rather than as a Republican (which he's run as before), Ackin says "I woke up one day and found myself on the other side" but fails to mention that that day was right before he started his mayoral campaign... (Lukey is the only one on the Republican ticket.)

  • The debate got a bit testy when questions arose about Harris' qualifications for mayor. He is qualified because he has lived in the city for the required number of years but was still registered to vote in Sewickley until earlier this year.

  • Drinking Game: Take a shot every time Acklin says "door knocking."

  • Check out the look on Lil Mayor Luke's face when Acklin mentions that he's met with current members of Lukey's administration. Harris is amused.

  • Rice mentions Pat Ford. Lukey says that he's "growing increasingly comfortable with staff we have." Well, I hope so, it's been three years, no?

  • Harris mentions that he's spoken with Judy O'Connor. (I wish the camera had been on Luke for that.)

  • The candidates are allowed to ask each other questions and Acklin asks Lukey, "Who are John Verbanac and Ed Grattan and what role do they play in your administration?" Lukey answers with "John Verbanac and Ed Grattan are friends of mine and they have no formal role in my administration." (Verbanac Wikipedia page here. More on both of them in the comments section at the The Pittsburgh Comet here and here.)

  • Harris makes a play for women, minorities and labor.

  • After watching the debate, I still like Harris best and will be voting for him.

  • http://www.harrisforpittsburgh.com/

    http://www.acklinforpittsburgh.com/

    http://www.lukeformayor.com/


    UPDATE: Notice that in the above URLs Harris and Acklin are both for the city and Lukey is for...himself!
    .

    More SLOPPY Work From Scaife's Brain Trust

    Scaife's Brain Trust just can't (as I've written elsewhere) help themselves. In a shockingly shoddy display of reporting (ironically about shoddy science), Richard Mellon Scaife's editorial board gets it wrong again. Let's begin at the end and trace our way back to reality.

    The Trib, today:

    Reports that a key research institution destroyed its original climate data set, which was used by global-warming soothsayers, reveal at the minimum a horrendously sloppy scientific method.

    At worst, it challenges the very premise upon which this "science" is based.

    Data compiled by the United Kingdom's University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) have been used as the primary reference for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (until 2007), among other agencies.

    In mid-August, CRU destroyed raw data for its global surface temperatures findings, allegedly because of limited storage space, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

    That looks pretty bad, huh? Too bad it ain't true. Before we take a look at what the CEI said, let's remind ourselves of who the CEI is or at least who has given funds to it in the past.

    Turns out, among its financial supporters is the Sarah Scaife Foundation - chaired by none other than Richard Mellon Scaife, owner and publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review from which we read the current editorial. Funny they didn't mention that in the editorial.

    Back to the CEI. The link on the CEI's front page leads back to this article in the Washington Examiner. Where it says:
    But reaching a new consensus will be exceedingly difficult because the raw data on which the landmark 1996 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based its conclusion has been destroyed. The University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit acknowledged in August that it discarded data that, in addition to the IPCC report, has been cited by other international studies as the main justification for severe restrictions on carbon emissions worldwide. [emphasis added.]
    Wait - what? I thought they destroyed the data in August. (That's what the Brain Trust said.) Now the story is that the CRU acknowledged in August it "discarded the data" but there's no indication of when that happened.

    Didn't the Brain Trust bother checking the facts? Who do they think they are, Jack Kelly?

    When was this data discarded? That's the rest of the story - one completely missed by our friends at the Trib.

    Let's go find out.

    Another search by "the google" leads to this column at the National Review Online where it says:
    Roger Pielke Jr., an esteemed professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, then requested the raw data from Jones. Jones responded:
    Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.
    The "Jones" in that is Phil Jones. The NRO says:
    In the early 1980s, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists at the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia established the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) to produce the world’s first comprehensive history of surface temperature. It’s known in the trade as the “Jones and Wigley” record for its authors, Phil Jones and Tom Wigley, and it served as the primary reference standard for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) until 2007.
    Let me reiterate what we've found out so far. Apart from the CRU's acknowledgment in August mentioned above, we've learned that they never had the original raw data to being with.

    Now compare that to what the Trib told its readers that the:
    CRU destroyed raw data for its global surface temperatures findings...
    But now we have another name: Roger Pielke. What does Pielke have to say? He's careful to point out (in a comment) that his posting was not an assertion of "malintent" by the CRU, just a complaint about its sloppiness:
    has nothing to do with "intent". The boy whose dog ate his homework probably had no malintent either.
    Indeed, he added at the bottom of his posting:
    To be absolutely clear, none of what I write here should be taken as implying that actions to decarbonize the global economy or improve adaptation do not make sense -- they do. However, just because climate change is important and because there are opponents to action that will seize upon whatever they can to make their arguments, does not justify overlooking or defending this degree of scientific sloppiness and ineptitude. Implementing successful climate policy will have to overcome the missteps of the climate science community, and this is a big one.
    In general, he's right.

    That's also a far far far way off from saying that the CRU destroyed the supporting data last August.

    Isn't the Tribune-Review editorial board interested in the truth?

    Hahahahahahaha! Yea, yea, I know I made a funny.

    October 16, 2009

    A Free Speech Message To Luke Ravenstahl

    (H/T to Pittgirl and Marty Levine)

    Marty Levine sets the stage:
    The city is facing the possibility of civil suits stemming from arrests and other police activity during the G-20. Criminal hearings involving accused protesters -- many of whom are students at Oakland universities -- are still pending.
    And what does Mayor Luke do at "Off The Record"? Levine, again:

    And according to several witnesses who contacted us after the fact, Ravenstahl used his moment on stage to send a message to ACLU state legal director Vic Walczak, who has sharply criticized the city's handling of G-20 protesters. According to multiple sources, Ravenstahl said something like this: "I heard we're going to face a free-speech lawsuit. Well, I have some free speech for you -- fuck you, Vic Walczak."

    Pittgirl reacts:
    My view is this, Lukey went too far. Actually, he didn’t just go too far, he saw the line, laughed at the line, erased the line, then got in his spaceship and zoomed to the planet Visuviusium six galaxies away and then kept the hell on going like a fleet of starfighters was on his ass. THAT’S how far he went.
    The Mayor is SUCH A CLASSY GUY! How many weeks have passed since the tear gas? Since the rubber bullets and bean bags? And THIS is how the mayor jokes?

    Hey, I got some free speech for you, Mr Mayor.

    Are you there, Mr Mayor? Maybe Yarone can read it to you.

    Fuck you, Luke.

    truth

    From here:


    (Click image for larger graphic)

    .

    Headlines About Jobs


    While the NYT's Still on the Job, but at Half the Pay informs us that "pay cuts, sometimes the result of downgrades in rank or shortened workweeks, are occurring more frequently than at any time since the Great Depression," do not despair!

    Pay cuts aren't universal as Wall Street On Track To Award Record Pay and the silver lining in all this is Bleak U.S. job market boosts military recruitment.

    Don't you feel better now?
    .

    Blog Action Day '09

    And today's topic is:

    CLIMATE CHANGE.

    With so much to discuss, I just want to point yinz to this page at scienceblogs.com.

    It's called "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic" and it's very useful. An example:
    Objection:

    Global Warming is just a hoax perpetrated by environmental extremists and liberals who want an excuse for more big government.
    Which is followed by a list of the "hoaxers":
    And then there's this list of National Academies of Science:
    • Academia Brasiliera de Ciencias (Bazil)
    • Royal Society of Canada
    • Chinese Academy of Sciences
    • Academie des Sciences (France)
    • Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
    • Indian National Science Academy
    • Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
    • Science Council of Japan
    • Russian Academy of Sciences
    • Royal Society (United Kingdom)
    • National Academy of Sciences (United States of America)
    who have all signed a joint statement that opens with:
    Climate change is real.

    There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001). This warming has already led to changes in the Earth's climate.
    On the otherside of the "debate" we have (locally at least) Richard Mellon Scaife's brain trust who opened an editorial on off-shore drilling with this:
    Having bought the unsubstantiated arguments of global-warming alarmists, the Obama administration is all too likely to be swayed by politicized science regarding offshore oil and gas drilling.
    Hmm. NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (just to name three) vs the Scaife's Tribune-Review.

    Where do YOU stand?

    October 15, 2009

    To Protect The Children...

    Check this out.
    A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

    "I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."
    How nice of Justice of the Peace Bardwell. Such concern for the interracial unborn.

    Heartwarming.

    October 14, 2009

    More On Scaife's Brain Trust

    They just can't help themselves.

    Take a look at today's "Midweek Briefing." Here is the middle "brief":
    As the BBC's climate correspondent Paul Hudson reminds, global temperatures have not increased over the past 11 years. And he says that solar scientist Piers Corbyn is preparing to report to the international scientific community this month that solar activity is almost entirely responsible for temperature variations. Concludes Mr. Hudson: "One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over.
    Before we look at Hudson's reporting, let's just have a look at how Nature.com sees the BBC report:
    The BBC quotes Piers Corbyn from weather forecasting company Weatheraction and Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University. Both cast doubt on the widely held consensus view that human activity is driving changes in climate.

    Corbyn and Easterbrook are both global warming deniers / sceptics and both have been publicising their doubts for some time (see the references on their Wikipedia entries for more). Without commenting on the merits of their arguments, it is clear that it is slightly disingenuous to use the views of these two men to claim as the BBC does that “It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.”

    And a little later:
    To summarise then: two scientists who have previously said they didn’t believe in global warming still don’t believe in global warming.
    That's the story. That's the entire story here.

    And that part about how temperatures haven't increased in 11 years? Take a look:
    This discussion focuses on just a short time period – starting 1998 or later – covering at most 11 years. Even under conditions of anthropogenic global warming (which would contribute a temperature rise of about 0.2 ºC over this period) a flat period or even cooling trend over such a short time span is nothing special and has happened repeatedly before (see 1987-1996). That simply is due to the fact that short-term natural variability has a similar magnitude (i.e. ~0.2 ºC) and can thus compensate for the anthropogenic effects. Of course, the warming trend keeps going up whilst natural variability just oscillates irregularly up and down, so over longer periods the warming trend wins and natural variability cancels out.
    They have artwork:
    See how that works? Taken over a long period of time, the trend is clear. Taken over shorter periods it's easier to smudge the data.

    Don't believe me? Right now it's cooler in my living room than it ever was this summer: THAT PROVES GLOBAL WARMING IS OVER.

    It does, doesn't it?

    October 13, 2009

    Insurance Industry Makes The Case For A Public Option For Us

    The Insurance Industry makes the argument for a public option for us:


    Either that, or they are engaging in extortion.
    .

    Call a whambulance for Lil Mayor Luke!


    In an article in yesterday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Lil Mayor Luke Ravenstahl goes whaaaaaa that he's had to suffer running in elections* and that people have had the gall to actually run against him in those elections:
    "What I can tell you is that the existing relationships we have, in many cases, are not beneficial to the residents of the city," Mr. Ravenstahl acknowledged.

    "I think what's been unique in my three years, from day one and even as we sit here today, I've constantly been running for office," he said. "One of them [Councilman Patrick Dowd] ran against me. Another one [Councilman William Peduto] started to, a third [Council President Doug Shields] had indicated his interest, and so that political battle that they've been engaged in really has been unhealthy for city government."
    Someone needs to remind Fluke Ravenstahl that the circumstance which led him to face two elections in three years is the same one that installed him in the office without an election.

    Later in the same article, Lil Mayor Luke sheds more tears with this:
    "When you look back and consider some of the things that have been said -- I mean literally accusations that this administration should be in jail, or I should be in jail, or I've broken the law, some of the personal attacks that they make -- it's very difficult for me to deal with somebody that believes that or at least says that."

    The mayor insists he wants better ties in the future, but added: "Right now, I don't sense the other side of the hall, the majority of the other side of the hall -- I do have some good relationships -- being genuine about putting the past behind us. If they're genuine about it, then we're genuine about it, but it's hard for us. We can't make the entire lift; it has to be a two-way street."
    Let's also remind Lukey that he both threatened the paychecks of Council's staff and had his creature threaten his opponents on Council with immediate removal from office for crossing him.

    And finally, he should be reminded that when talking about jail, Steelerstahl has only really been handcuffed by his own actions.


    * Luke's not the only one who thinks that elections are some big distraction for the public.
    .

    Short Take on The Trib's "Short Takes"

    They don't read too good over at Richard Mellon Scaife's Brain trust, I guess. Take a look at this sentence from the Trib's editorial board:
    A Bugler editorial calls conservatives critical of President Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "a motley crew," then equates them with the Taliban.
    NOTE: The Trib calls the P-G "The Toledo Block Bugler" because the P-G and the Toledo Blade are owned by the same family - the Block family. Yea, I know. Rightwing snark - who'da thought it would be so, well, pedestrian? And unfunny? They think it's funny, though.

    Back to the editorial. Let's take a look at what the P-G actually wrote:
    Mr. Obama's harshest critics -- a motley crew of conservative Republicans, right-wing bloggers, talk-show hosts and the Taliban -- are beside themselves with rage that their nemesis has received another "undeserved" honor.
    Any competent reader of the language would see that the P-G's editorial board is listing Obama's "harshest critics." And their list includes conservative Republicans, wing nut bloggers and so on. Where, O astute readers o' mine, is the comparison to the Taliban?

    It's not there. The Trib editorial board is lying when it says it's there. And they're counting on their readers not to check the facts.

    Typical Trib editorial.

    October 12, 2009

    Fact-Checking Ruth Ann Dailey

    A quick Fact-Check (as I am running late this morning) on Ruth Ann Dailey's column today. She writes:
    The best way to do so is to keep the focus strictly on the issues. Exit polling released just before New Year's Day and easily overlooked in the left's post-election euphoria showed that despite voters' support for Mr. Obama, they feared the possible results of Democratic Party hegemony.

    Target Point Consulting's in-depth poll of 1,000 voters sought to determine why they voted the way they did. As reported by the Wall Street Journal's Political Diary, there was plenty of bad news for Republicans: Voters faulted them for the bad economy, the prolonged war in Iraq, a too-strident position on immigration, and bailouts for big corporations.

    Asked what they "liked least about the Democrats," the most common responses volunteered by poll respondents were "taxes going up," "big government," "liberal," "raise spending" and even "socialism."
    And who is this "Target Point Consulting?

    Glad you asked. From "Clients" page at their website, we can see this graphic:

    Any guess who pays for Target Consulting's consulting? That is to say, any guess who Target Point Consulting consults for?

    Don't you think Ruth Ann should have at least mentioned this? It's a Republican Consulting firm.

    If there's any doubt as to which side of the fence Target Point Consulting sits, there's this from the Washington Post of 2004:
    In a $2.2 billion election, two relatively small expenditures by Bush and his allies stand out for their impact: the $546,000 ad buy by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the Bush campaign's $3.25 million contract with the firm TargetPoint Consulting. The first portrayed Kerry in unrelentingly negative terms, permanently damaging him, while the second produced dramatic innovations in direct mail and voter technology, enabling Bush to identify and target potential voters with pinpoint precision.
    There's more (much more) to write about her column, but I am running late and just don't have the time.