Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why will Trent Lott step down at year end?

This is a question that everyone wants an answer to. I am reading rumors that are far more intriguing than Senator Lott’s explaination; he wants to spend more time with his family.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Senator Lott needs to make more money, since Hurricane Katrina wiped out his home on the coast, and insurance won’t pay for much of the damage. Senators make $160,000 a year and have to maintain a home in Washington and one in their home state. 160k may sound like a lot, but it is nothing in the power circles of Washington.
2. Larry Flint, of Hustler Magazine fame, says he has received something Trent does not want us to know. Perhaps Trent hopes the pressure to expose him will die down if he is no longer in Congress.
3. Trent may be found to have uncomfortably close ties to a guy named Bill Allen. Bill Allen has given a great deal of money to Republican lawmakers to enrich his oil business in Alaska. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) is already being investigated with regard to this issue.

So what do you think? Is it money troubles, sex troubles, or bribery troubles? Here is the scary part, perhaps it is “all of the above.”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My kids love this one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nope, this one is not Larry Craig.

From The Advocate

GOP Legislator Guilty of Soliciting Bathroom Sex

"After a short deliberation Friday, Florida state representative Bob Allen was found guilty of soliciting oral sex in a public bathroom. While he did not testify during the trial -- a decision made by his attorneys, MSNBC reports -- the fallen politico said that he is innocent of the charges and has done nothing wrong.
"My family, my God, and my constituents know that, and we're not going to stop until we get that justice," Allen said, according to MSNBC.
Moments after the verdict was announced, Florida house speaker Marco Rubio released a statement denouncing Allen and recommending that he be removed from his Merritt Island seat. "

I think Brian at Incertus said it best:

"It's possible that Allen could face jail time, which I think is ridiculous. Frankly, I think the idea of public restroom stings is stupid all the way around, as I said during our famous Naugle-blogging period, but jail time for this is beyond stupid.These laws are odious, make no mistake about it. They criminalize consensual sex between adults, and they are targeted specifically at homosexuals. The reason that I find the scandals so hilarious is because they seem to net the very people who bloviate the loudest for the laws in the first place, but if we were a sane society, these laws wouldn't be on the books, and Bob Allen and Larry Craig could cruise to their hearts' content. But for me, as long as they keep calling for the laws, I'll keep pointing and laughing when they get busted breaking them."

Here is my take on the whole sordid affair:

For years I have watched the conservative right pursue a policy of institutionalized gay bashing. I often felt “thou dust protest too much.” Too many Republicans have been confirmed as hypocrites. I am now left with the awful realization that my gay friends were victimized by other gay people. I did not know what to do with this until I realized that a society that hates people, for what they are, breeds self-hate. Too many Republicans and some religious leaders seem to fall into this trap. I just hope that time will heal this wound, and we can move on to improving the lives of fellow Americans rather than telling them they are an aberration.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nixon on health care

From Kaiserthrive.org:

Perhaps the best introduction to the Kaiser HMO and Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Plan is the summary by Mr. Edgar Kaiser that the less Kaiser does for patients the more money it makes. To get the full context one can go to the University of Virginia and review the presentation Mr. Edgar Kaiser (then Kaiser CEO) made to President Nixon through Mr. Erlichman — the less we do the more we earn. This convinced President Nixon to go forward with the HMO Act of 1973 with Kaiser as the template. The conversation is recorded below within the Nixon White House Tapes:

John D. Ehrlichman: “On the … on the health business …”

President Nixon: “Yeah.”

Ehrlichman: “… we have now narrowed down the vice president’s problems on this thing to one issue and that is whether we should include these health maintenance organizations like Edgar Kaiser’s Permanente thing. The vice president just cannot see it. We tried 15 ways from Friday to explain it to him and then help him to understand it. He finally says, ‘Well, I don’t think they’ll work, but if the President thinks it’s a good idea, I’ll support him a hundred percent.’”

President Nixon: “Well, what’s … what’s the judgment?”

Ehrlichman: “Well, everybody else’s judgment very strongly is that we go with it.”

President Nixon: “All right.”

Ehrlichman: “And, uh, uh, he’s the one holdout that we have in the whole office.”

President Nixon: “Say that I … I … I’d tell him I have doubts about it, but I think that it’s, uh, now let me ask you, now you give me your judgment. You know I’m not to keen on any of these damn medical programs.”

Ehrlichman: “This, uh, let me, let me tell you how I am …”

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: “This … this is a …”

President Nixon: “I don’t [unclear] …”

Ehrlichman: “… private enterprise one.”

President Nixon: “Well, that appeals to me.”

Ehrlichman: “Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can … the reason he can do it … I had Edgar Kaiser come in … talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because …”

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: “… the less care they give them, the more money they make.”

President Nixon: “Fine.” [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: [Unclear] “… and the incentives run the right way.”

President Nixon: “Not bad.”

The preceding transcription is from the University of Virginia for the clearest possible presentation (pathway discovered by Vickie Travis). Check - February 17, 1971, 5:26 pm - 5:53 pm, Oval Office Conversation 450-23. Look for: tape rmn_e450c.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Good flick!


Friday, November 9, 2007

Democrats trying to cut taxes, Republicans saying no!

From WaPo:

"WASHINGTON -- House Democrats on Friday pushed through an $80 billion bill to block the spread of a dreaded tax on middle-income people. The White House and Republicans, protesting tax increases in the bill affecting mainly investment fund managers, maintained that it would never become law."

Here is what is happening. The Democrats want to make sure that Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) does not get assessed against the middle class. AMT was never intended to apply to the middle class, but since it was not indexed correctly, when the bill was originally passed, it is beginning to affect average Americans in large numbers.

The Democrats, seeing the profligate spending perpetuated by the Republicans over the past six years, decided to institute "pay as you go" rules when they took over Congress last year. "Pay as you go" means that if Congress cuts taxes somewhere, they must raise the revenue (tax) somewhere else.

The place the Democrats want to raise the revenue is by closing a tax loop-hole for the super rich hedge fund managers. This loop-hole allows managers of hedge funds to count their fee income as long term capital gains (LTCG). The maximum LTCG tax is 15%. The Democrats argue that this fee income is a fee for service, not a long term return on the investment warrenting capital gains tax treatment at 15%. The Democrats are correct in this assessment.

The Republicans do not want the loop-hole closed. So, they are willing to let millions of middle Americans get their taxes raised to protect the very low tax brackets for the hedge fund managers making millions in income every year.

My question is this: how do you like it when a guy, making ten or twenty million a year, pays tax at 15% while you, making less than 100,000, pay tax at 25%?

The Democrats are doing a great job here and I hope the Republicans fail to hold or defeatup this bill.

Monday, November 5, 2007


With all that is now going on in Pakistan, here is Jon Stewart's interview with Musharraf back in 2006: