Saturday, August 29, 2009

Changing Comment Permissions

Blogger allows the administrator to select certain opitions regarding comments. I have been using comment moderation wherein I must review the comments before publishing them. This takes time that I no longer wish to expend.

As a result, I am using the option that allows only certain email addresses to post comments. As I generally get comments from less than ten persons, this might work out quite nicely and it will reduce the number of comments that I must review each day.

I direct this post to the following 'regulars' whose comments I most often permit to be published:

• Engineer of Knowledge
• steve
• Mikeb302000
• Jack Jodell
• Sepp

Microdot, UptheFlag and History Mike are members of this blog and therefore already have permission to post comments here.

If the people whose names I listed wish to continue to post comments without moderation, please send me an email at my address: mud underline rake at hotmail dot com. This offer will close on Wednesday 2 September.



The Most Christian Senator Laid to Rest

Senator Kennedy is perhaps the most Christian senator yet to be seated in that august chamber. I just watched his funeral mass and it affirmed that conviction. Yet he never wore it on his sleeves like some of his phony christian colleagues.

The Gospel chosen to be read at the service was all of Ted Kennedy was Matthew 25:31-46. The versus which stand out and are easily remembered from childhood are these: `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'

To the least of my brethren. The poor, the outcast, the disadvantaged, the immigrant, the gay, the deformed, the debilitated, the lame, the sick. Mother Theresa herself as she ministered to the poorest of the poor. Jesus as he met the lepers and the Samaritan woman at the well.

Ted Kennedy ran with the Gospel of Matthew all of his life, he took it to heart and made it his life's goal. Jesus would smile on him.

One of the eulogists said of him that he always remembered who he was fighting for- the disadvantaged in America. Not the corporate interests, not the wealthy, not the well-connected. He knew he was there for The People. The People who surrounded Jesus.

Who now will take up that baton? Who will rise to fill the gap left by this Lion of the Senate? This man of The People?

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Religious Fanatic and the Criminally Insane

Phillip Garrido, the kidnapper and rapist of 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard, listens to angels. Not only that, but he believes that he has God-given powers to speak in an "unearthly" language used by angels. He is convinced he was being used by God to bring about the salvation of humanity. Garrido had a penchant for wandering the neighborhood distributing religious tracts and quoting Bible verse.

I'm wondering just how similar are the religious fanatic and the criminally insane. Both seem to hear voices, believe in angels, and believe that they are 'chosen' by a god who lives in some spiritual realm above the clouds. Some even have blogs; Garrido did. They love to drop Bible verses too.

Is there a fine line between the two? Is there a osmotic membrane separating the religious nut from the insane? Does intense religiosity demand the lifting of the curtain that separates reality from imagination? And, if so, are there any boundaries? What tethers a person so that they do not float away into that 'other' realm? Or, can one move effortlessly between reality and the spirit world and find one's way back?

Apparently Phillip Garrido made many trips between the two. It would be interesting to find out which Bible verses he loved to quote. One that often appears on the religious nut circuit is, "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life." One wonders how that person 'knows' this stuff. How do they 'know' that god wants one to repent and have eternal life? Have they crossed that membrane a few times? Heard those angelic voices? Or is all part of a severe psychosis for which there are prescribed drug and counselling therapies?

God speaks and so do angels. How do we know? Well, because long ago someone heard something in his head...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Charter Schools are a Disaster

Even though it may have sounded like a good idea, the charter school concept in Ohio is a failure. Three Toledo charter schools have been forced to shut their doors due to poor results in the standardized testing used to access their progress. Not only that, but 15 are listed as in 'academic emergency. Two others are in 'academic watch.' There are 17 others in 'continuous improvement,' a designation of a school that functions below 'effective.'

Of the 42 charter schools in the Toledo area, 2 are 'effective.' Two. Two of 42 is 5%. Five percent.

The worst part of this scenario is the fact that the parents were duped into believing that sending their child to one of these schools would improve the performance of their child. The other part is that each of these schools sucks money from the Toledo Public School system.

Allison Perz, daughter of the former Ohio senator, Sally Perz, who pushed legislation for the charter school option in Ohio, opined that if they only had more time...

The Blade reports:

Allison Perz, executive director of the Ohio Council of Community Schools that sponsors Dunbar and Eagle Heights Academy in Youngstown, which is also closing, said the schools made "quantum leaps" toward improvement. "The changes that were made were just made too late," she said.

Just too late. Let me translate that: 'If we had known that our schools would be held to the same standards of the public school system, maybe we might have hired quality teachers to run them. ' And this: 'We hoped that we could scam the public without anyone noticing the scam.'

Scam. Pure and simple. Allison Perz makes 6-digits as does her mother who is an 'assistant' in the scam corporation. Cozy stuff.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Der Löwe des Senats ist Tot

Senator Edward Kennedy
1932 - 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Fall of Europe

Europe has become economically weak. France,
the Dutch, and Belgium have been weak economies
and remain weak. Since WWII Germany has been
the economic powerhouse. Now, however, Germany
has become a weak economy; the "economic wonder"
of Europe is no more. Some of this decline began
with German re-unification in the 1990s. West
Germany was advanced; East Germany economically
retarded and dependent. German welfare is another
reason. Germany has the world's highest labor
costs. Another problem is the the large immigrant
labor coming in from Italy and the Balkans. Also,
the German birth rate has been very low with the
resultant lack of purchasing power. The German
bubble is bursting.

Moreover, because of the economic disaster between
the two world wars, Germany has had an obsession with
strong money. The result has been the development
of a very disciplined financial economy. This benefited
Germany until now. To be sure, Germany produces the
best luxury cars, and the trains run on time. German
engineering standards are the best in the world. The
problems now is that most people don't care. Who needs
German Mercedes when Japan and Korea are producing
superb luxury autos? The world has changed from the
Germany 1950-2000. Germany cannot compete with mediocrity.
But, mediocrity is the name of the game now.

Germany and Europe are becoming the "has beens" of the
21st century. European countries are small and have no
population base to sustain thriving economies. The people
are old, and there are no demographics that point to any
real European economic recovery. European birth rates are
low and so low there is doubt Europe can retain its culture.
The European Union is an attempt to stem this problem, but
it is not working. The United States had better learn from
the European economic collapse or face a similiar decline.
Germany and Europe are on the road to permanent recession.

The GOP as Shrinky Dinks

Today's Republican Party bears scant resemblance to my parent's GOP. It seems to have shrunk not only in size but in wisdom, quality and ideas as well.

Remember that child's toy of the 70's called Shrinky Dinks? My kids loved to 'create' their cellophane art pieces then watch them shrink down in the oven. I note on the drawing above they even have the Republican elephant ready for shrinking. Cute little fella, ain't he?

My parent's GOP was solid, respected and filled with men and women who actually cared about the people they served. One wouldn't be ashamed to identify oneself as a Republican at a cocktail party.

Solid characters, morally sound men and women doing their best to move this nation forward while looking out for the interests of the working class.

That 60's song, 'Where have all the flowers gone?' comes to mind. Where have they gone? Abandoned ship, mostly, or voted out of office because they ran on the Republican ticket. I think of Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Jim Leach of Iowa, two outstanding legislators who were recently defeated simply because they were Republicans.

"Only this big," the girl in the photo seems to be saying.

Rather than purifying the party through attrition, as in a distillation process, the purge has left a toxic, smelly substance at the bottom of the flask- the essence of today's Republican Party. It has been skrinky danked! And the net result is awful.

Nearly every day one hears some idiotic and scary sound bite made by some Republican operative that curdles your inners. The party has moved so far to the right, that I'm thinking that it is on a slippery slope towards fascism. Just yesterday at a GOP rally in California, GOP congressman from the 2nd district, Wally Herger, praised a man in the audience who shouted out, "I am a proud right wing terrorist!" "Amen, God bless you," said the Republican, and continued, " There is a great American."

Isolated incident? Just one random kook? Sorry, not at all. Today's Republican Party is filled with legislators on the right-wing and ultra right-wing because the others have been distilled out. Congressmen like Herger are in solid right-wing districts populated by people of the same mindset. They are the toxic goo at the bottom of the flask.

One ought to revisit their high school history books to learn what most of us slept through: the rise of fascism in Spain, Italy and Germany in the 1930's. Whereas we found it most boring back then, it may sound refreshingly familiar to us these days.

GOP and the Toy Pony

This ad for a bank is priceless. Two little girls seated at a table and a man asks the first girl if she wants a pony. Of course she does and smiles when he reaches into his pocket to give her one. He then turns to the other girl and asks the same question and the second girl gets a real pony.

The bewildered first girl, looking longingly at the real pony says, "You didn't say I could have a real pony." To which the man says, "Well, you didn't ask."

The Republican Party.


Monday, August 24, 2009

"The LaRouche Version of History."

Lyndon LaRouche. Does that name cause a smile on your face? He's surely had a sordid life in politics and other venues. Including prison and as a perennial candidate for President. Interesting combination. "The LaRouche Version of History" was coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski,United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

Revisionist history has been in vogue lately and quite popular on the right side of the political spectrum. Facts be damned.

As a knee-jerk reactionary, LaRouche jumped onto the 'death panels' bandwagon with this statement posted on the LaRouche Political Action Committee website:

July 22, 2009 (LPAC)--U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a nationally-televised press conference at 8 p.m. on July 22nd, in which on five separate occasions he called for health reform legislation featuring the establishment of "an independent board of doctors and health care experts" to make the life-and-death decisions of what care to provide, and what not, based on cost-effectiveness criteria--exactly the infamous "T-4" policy imposed by Adolf Hitler in 1939, for which the Nazi regime was tried and condemned at Nuremberg.

He then said,

"President Obama is now impeachable, because he has, in effect, proposed legislation which is an exact copy of the legislation for which the Hitler regime was condemned in the post-war trials. This is an impeachable offense: to propose such a thing in this time, is an impeachable offense. The time has come that the President of the United States deserves impeachment. With this statement from him, the President now deserves impeachment."

The result was an order by the LaRouche people to print and distribute the Obama-as-Hitler posters that the teabaggers, birthers, deathers and other miscreants held up for all of the world to see just how ignorant some Americans are.

My daughter found one of them taped to the Coke machine at her swim club.

The hate-Obama crowd is obsessed with bringing him down at any cost, with any lie they can perpetrate. It is almost humorous to sit by and watch their desperation. Were it not so serious, one might laugh at it all.

Who is Betsy So-and-so?

A person on the right side of the political spectrum wrote this comment in the thread, birthers-deathers-and-shamwows,

"As far as Betsy So-and-so, I have never heard of her.
And death panels...that was coined because in the health bill it mandates that a panel will be the final decision maker as to what proceedures a person may have...which if you need some type of surgury that will save your life and you're over a certain age which makes it cost ineffective, they can deny it to you...IE a "death panel" being they CAN make a life or death decision for you. The bill does not say "death panel" but, I suppose if you're 65 years old, need a lifesaving operation and the decision to grant you the operation falls onto a committee, it would be easy for that person to see it as a "death panel"...would you be happier if the GOP called it a "life panel" instead?

The author of this comment is usually above average in intelligence, but I'm afraid that he's fallen to the Dark Side lately. Propagandized might be a kind assessment. ShamWow-ed.

Elizabeth 'Betsy' McCaughey, aka Betsy So-and-so, is a shill for the health care industry. A ShamWow pitch-lady. Huckster. She may have once run a carni stand at an amusement park. Well, no, she was an editorialist who first began her crusade against Federal involvement in health care back in 1993, writing OpEd articles against the Clinton proposals.

As a 'reward' for her anti-health reform writing, she was chosen by New York governor-elect Pataki to be Lieutenant Governor.

Her 'fame' began on September 30, 1993, the last day of Hillary Clinton's congressional committee testimony, when The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by McCaughey, who said she had read and reread the 239-page draft health care reform plan and concluded that the plan differed markedly from the Clinton White House's public statements and that the plan would in her opinion have "devastating consequences."

'Devastating consequences.' Now there's a loaded phrase. In fact, she was correct: the Clinton Health Care proposal would have devastating consequences on the profit margin of the health care providers and insurance industry.

As a second shot across the bow, in November 22, 1993, the Wall Street Journal published another op-ed by McCaughey, who said she had pored over the 1,342-page Health Security Act bill and concluded that its price controls would cause rationing and in her opinion was "dangerous."

The anti-government 'welfare' crowd so liked McCaughey's two Wall Street Journal op-ed columns about Clinton's health plan that she was commissioned to expand them into an article for a The National Review cover story. McCaughey's five-page article "No Exit" was featured as the cover story in the February 7, 1994 issue of the magazine which indeed had 'devastating consequences' for the Clintons.

Of course, the 'devastating consequences' phrase was picked up by the GOP and its media shills as meaning devastating for the citizens. A super grand spin. It worked and the health care industry reaped grand rewards for the subsequent 16 years.

Then came another Democrat into the White House. It was time for Betsy 'devastating consequences' McCaughey to be rolled out once again. No longer a NY State official, but rather on the Board of Directors of Cantel Medical Corporation, Ms. McCaughey grabbed some paper and a pen and wrote another 'devastating consequences' OpEd, choosing the phrase, 'euthanasia for the elderly' this round.

On February 9th, 2009, McCaughey published an op-ed on She claimed that one of the provisions "would make it mandatory … that people [on] Medicare [be told] how to end their lives sooner"; she went so far as to label such protocols as "euthanasia for the elderly."

The tea-bagers and deathers ran with the story, creating placards reading, 'Obama Wants to Kill Grandma!' and other nonsense.

In August 2009, WNYC's On the Media addressed McCaughey's "euthanasia for the elderly" claim. The provision actually mandated that the federal government compensate senior citizens requesting "counseling sessions" on elder law, such as estate planning, "will writing and hospice care."

The Obama-haters, however, ran with the 'Death Panels' claim and it was 'authoritated' by the likes of Sarah Palin, Senator Grassley, dingbat Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich along with the ditto heads on talk radio.

McCaughey met her Waterloo when she agreed to appear as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 20th, 2009 to discuss the controversy around the supposed "death panels".She was humiliated. As a result of this interview, she was fired from her position on the Cantel Medical board.

Apparently one 'can't tell' the same lie forever.

Back to my right-wing commenter. What he doesn't know about the health insurance business is that there are, in fact, 'death panels' already in place. Read your policy. It's all there in black on white. It's called 'limitations and exclusions.'

In the end, Betsy So-and-so was right about 'death panels.' It's just that she tried to spin them onto Obama when, in fact, they are written into your health insurance policy.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Birthers, Deathers and the Ziegfeld Follies

It's been way-too quiet lately on the loony right. Surely there must be some newly concocted outrage brewing, isn't there? Come on tea-baggers, Palin-punks, Limbaugh-loonies, Beck-boobs Gingrich goons, bitherers and deathers, we're waiting for the next act in your Dopey American drama. You can't have run out of outrages yet- your acting was getting better with each phony scenario. Real tears ran down Glen Beck's face. Sarah Palin almost looked serious with her 'killing grandma' reference. Gingrich needs to tone down his snarkiness and get some voice lessons as well. Fat-man Limbaugh's impersonation of Oliver Hardy could be enhanced with a derby.

Summer's not quite over and all America is looking for the season finale.There ought to be a whole lot more outrages that need to be staged. What about a block-buster combination of everything the goofy right stands for? One of those Ziegfeld Follies final scene when the director threw everything into his final scene...dancers with plumes, glitter, raucous music, platforms, lights, glitter...

I'll bet they could get it together for a Labor Day Spectacular [although most of them don't believe in a day set aside for the peon workers]. A cheap Vaudeville variety show to raise money, like the Jerry Lewis MD Telethon. For charity. Is the phrase, 'right-wing charity' oxymoronical or what! Well, they could raise money for themselves.

With a change of hats, Limbaugh could do either Oliver Hardy or W.C. Fields, babbling away about nothing of any importance.

Glen Beck, in black face, could do Al Jolson singing, 'Is it True What They Say About Dixie?' and close with, 'Waiting for the Robert E. Lee.' His encore would naturally be, 'My Mammy!'

Former Idaho Senator Larry Craig could do a cameo appearance singing, "I'm Just Wild About Harry!'

A duet of Mrs. John Ensign and Mrs. David Vitter would naturally be singing the Gershwin hit of 1928, 'How Long Has This Been Going On?'

Surely Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich would sing the Showboat classic, 'Make Believe.'

Costumed as some of the Ziegfield Girls, bedecked in plumes from head to toe, would be Betsy "Death Panels"McCaugney, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and, naturally, walking down from the highest step, in the most dazzling display of feathers and sequins, Sarah Palin herself. What a treat! Naturally, she will be singing, "I'm Still Here" from the revival of Sondheim's Follies.

In a tip of the hat to the 2nd Amend-ers, Mrs. Ensign and Mrs. Vitter, joined by Mrs. Mark Sanford, could sing, "We Both Reached for the Gun, with semi-automatics strapped to their waists. At the end of the song, each would empty them on their husbands who are drinking with their prostitutes on stage right. In a bit of comic relief, Larry Craig runs across stage as Mrs. Craig blasts a blunderbuss into his smoldering rear-end.

GOP Party Chairman, Michael Steele, walks on stage in white-face, singing, 'Cellophane Man' from the musical Chicago.

Near the end, walking on stage from both ends, waving and smiling, parade Shawn Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Glen Beck [as Beck], Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz and G. Gordon Liddy singing that old hit, "There's No Business Like Show Business!"

Of course, the entire cast moves on stage, small flags in both hands, to close with Lee Greenwood's, "God Bless the USA," as an enormous flag unfurls at the back of the stage. There isn't a dry eye in the house.

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