Saturday, July 31, 2010
It looks like the war in Afghanistan just keeps getting worse for the United States and its coalition partners. In June, a total of 60 American soldiers died in Afghanistan. That was a record number of deaths for one month for the United States in the nine-year war. But it was a short-lived record.
Did you ever wonder why there is such a proliferation of places to buy alcohol? Even in areas where the sale of alcohol is illegal, you can be sure there will be somewhere close to buy it (or an easily accessible black market). Gallup's recent poll provides us with the answer -- according to the survey two-thirds of all Americans (67%) drink beer, wine or hard liquor.
Friday, July 30, 2010
For the last couple of years we have been hearing a lot of talk about how much trouble the social security program is in, and if you listen to the jerks in Congress (from both parties) you might think it's a problem that's nearly impossible to fix. The Republicans would like us to believe the only thing that can be done is to blow the program up and privatize it (leaving it at the mercy of the stock market).
I've said before on this blog that it looks like an endorsement from Sarah Palin is the kiss of death in a political race. Nearly every candidate that Palin has endorsed so far in this election year has wound up losing, and that is just in Republican primaries. If a Palin endorsement is that bad in the primaries, you can imagine how bad it will be in November.
Rick Perry, governor of Texas, would like to be seen as a truth-teller. But he seems to have forgotten that there are two kinds of lying -- lying by commission and lying by omission. If you tell only a small part of the truth and leave the impression that you're telling the whole truth, that's just as much a lie as telling an outright falsehood. And Perry is very good at telling lies of omission (leaving out important facts).
BENNETT: Thirty seconds on the doctors. You’ve got the best health care in the country, now I think, don’t you? Because of your tort law?
PERRY: We do, yes. I spoke with the doctors yesterday in San Antonio. We’ve got, you know, three of the great health care — well not — three of the great health care regions. When you think about the medical center in Houston, there are more doctors, nurses, researchers go to work there than any other place in the world, every day. You got UT Southwestern up in University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, Scott & White. I mean these fabulous health care facilities.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Ever since George Bush became president in 2000 by winning the most electoral votes, even though his opponent had the most votes overall, there have been people who want to see the electoral college done away with. These people believe the winner of the presidency should be the person who got the most votes nationwide on election day.
Once again we see evidence that Republicans, at least the ones here in Texas, think rules and laws are for everyone except themselves. We have a new state senator in Texas that has not only broken the law by committing a felony, but is also not eligible under state law for the office to which he was just elected.
Back in 1994 the Republican Party announced a "Contract for America" that laid out their plans if they were elected. The American people fell for this proposed contract and the Republicans were able to seize control of Congress. Sadly, the Republican policies were enacted and, after the election of George Bush, accelerated. And the effects on this country was disastrous.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I posted a couple of weeks ago about how the United States is funding massive corruption in Afghanistan. Hundreds of millions of dollars is going to buy homes in Dubai for Afghani leaders and their friends and families, and millions more are going into their own bank accounts. In fact the corruption is so massive that the U.S. can't keep up with where all the money is going.
As we edge ever closer to the November elections it has become very clear just what the Republican plan is to win that election. They want to vote no on (and hopefully block) every Democratic initiative to improve the economy and create new jobs, in the hopes that the American people will blame the Democrats for the economy.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Two of the policies that Republicans love the most are a hatred of undocumented immigrants (and the wish to deport those here and prevent others from entering) and the denial of global climate change (because to admit it is real would force them to take action to rein in the excesses of their rich buddies in the oil, gas, coal and power-generating industries). This is why they are going to great lengths to prevent both immigration and energy reform.
For a while now Governor Rick Perry has been accusing his opponent, blue-dog conservative Democrat Bill White, of trying to hide some ethical lapses by not releasing his tax returns all the way back to when he worked for the federal government's Energy Department (although he has released those tax returns for the last few years). Perry has a minor point because while White tried to give the impression he hadn't made any money off his oil investments, it has come out that he made millions by selling off much of his oil stocks.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I don't know how I missed this major news story. It seems that Texas songwriter, singer, author, comic and ex-candidate Kinky Friedman has officially thrown his support behind a candidate for governor of Texas in the 2010 election. Kinky made his endorsement on the steps of the state capital on July 6th in front of the cameras.
There is a political comedy playing itself out right now on Capital Hill -- and it's not a very funny one for Democrats or the American people. Last Thursday the House Ethics Committee announced they have drawn up charges of some kind of violations of House ethics against Rep Charles Rangel (D-New York). The exact nature of the charges are to be revealed in the coming week.
A couple of years ago the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced they had developed a prototype for a $100 laptop computer. Nicholas Negroponte, of the MIT Media Lab, created a nonprofit organization called One Laptop Per Child that was dedicated to getting these new cheaper computers into the hands of poor children (and put them on a more even level with the rest of the world).
Sunday, July 25, 2010
After a prologue and twenty individual stages covering 3,641.9 kilometers (about 2276 miles) and 91 hours 58 minutes 48 seconds of racing (for the winner - even more for everyone else), the 2010 Tour de France is over. It was an exciting and very close race this year and the overall winner for the third straight year is Spanish rider Alberto Contador (Astana).
Poverty is one of those social evils that has been around as long as civilization has been. It seems like there has always been a societal division into those who have and those who don't -- the haves and have-nots. And for just as long there has been a discussion on how to eliminate poverty (or whether to even try to eliminate it). Some people and some religions don't believe poverty can be eliminated, and say all that can be done is to offer a little help whenever possible.
2. The guarantee of shelter, healthcare, education, food and drinking water as basic human rights that must be provided free to all.
3. A total redistribution of idle lands to landless farmers and the imposition of a 50% cap on arable land devoted to products for export per country, with the creation of a worldwide subsidy for organic agriculture.
4. An end to private monopoly ownership over natural resources, with a minimum of 51% local communal ownership in corporations, which control such resources as well as the termination of intellectual property rights on pharmaceutical drugs.
5. The cancellation of third world debt with no reciprocal obligations attached and the payment of compensation to Third World countries for historical as well as ecological debt.
6. An obligation of total transparency for any corporation with more than 100 employees and a 1% tax on all benefits distributed to shareholders of corporations to create unemployment funds.
7. The termination of tax havens around the world as well as free flow of capital in developing countries.
8. The cancellation of taxes on labor and basic consumption, the creation of a 2% worldwide tax on property ownership (expect basic habitation for the poor) and the implementation of a global 0.5% flat tax on all financial transactions with a total prohibition of speculation on food products.
9. An equal voting for developing countries in international organizations such as IMF, World Bank, WTO, and the termination of veto right for the permanent members of the UN Security Counsel.
10. A commitment by industrialized countries to decrease carbon emission by 50% over a ten-year period as well as reducing by 25% each developed country’s consumption of natural resources.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
After stage 18 the riders in this year's Tour de France had ridden for over 88 hours and covered 3,487 kilometers (about 2,092 miles), and yet the difference between the top two riders was only an incredibly small 8 seconds. Alberto Contador, Spain (Astana) held that tiny lead over Andy Schleck, Luxembourg (Saxo Bank). That meant the Yellow Jersey would be decided in stage 19's 52 kilometer time trial (where the riders ride by themselves against the clock).
A few days ago one of the biggest nuts in the U.S. House of Representatives decided to form her own House caucus. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) got permission from the House to form a teabagger caucus and immediately named herself as the caucus chairwoman (Queen?).
Todd Akin (MO-2)
Rodney Alexander (LA-5)
Michele Bachmann (MN-6)
Joe Barton (TX-6)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6)
Rob Bishop (UT-1)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Paul Broun (GA-10)
Dan Burton (IN-5)
John Carter (TX-31)
John Culberson (TX-7)
John Fleming (LA-4)
Trent Franks (AZ-2)
Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Louie Gohmert (TX-1)
Tom Graves (GA-9)
Pete Hoekstra (MI-2)
Walter Jones (NC-3)
Steve King (IA-5)
Doug Lamborn (CO-5)
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Tom McClintock (CA-4)
Gary Miller (CA-42)
Jerry Moran (KS-1)
Mike Pence (IN-6)
Tom Price (GA-6)
Denny Rehberg (MT)
Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Adrian Smith (NE-3)
Lamar Smith (TX-21)
Cliff Stearns (FL-6)
Todd Tiahrt (KS-4)
Joe Wilson (SC-2)
Normally about this time of the year the Texas Rangers are so far out of first place that fans are ready for something to take their minds off of it. That's not the case this year. The Rangers are having a great summer. They are in first place with a several game lead over the Angels and could actually win the division and go to the playoffs. They'll bear watching through September this year.
Friday, July 23, 2010
There were no surprises in stage 18 of this year's Tour de France. It was expected to be another leg of the Tour for the sprinters to fight it out for the Green Jersey, and that's exactly what it turned out to be. There was a breakaway of four riders but the teams of the Green Jersey contenders took control of the peloton and never let them get very far away.