Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Understatement of the year

Howard Kurtz in yesterday's WaPo, politely describing Sarah Palin's deficiencies as a VP candidate:

Although some journalists say privately they are censoring their comments about Palin to avoid looking like they're piling on, pundits on the right are jumping ship. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough says Palin "just seems out of her league." National Review Editor Rich Lowry called her performance "dreadful." Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher described the interview as a "train wreck." Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker urged Palin to quit the race, saying: "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself."

The interview is drawing extraordinary attention because of the McCain campaign's calculated decision to shield Palin from reporters. No vice presidential nominee in modern history has been this inaccessible to the media, reinforcing the perception that she can't hit major-league pitching.
Sorry Howard, you're pulling your punches here. When Tina Fey can get pant-wetting guffaws by quoting the first part of the Palin-Couric interview verbatim, it's reported that Palin can only name 1 Supreme Court decision (do Alaskan public schools not offer any courses in US history or civics?) and even you are expecting the rest of Palin's interview will provide more fuel for the fire, it's quite obvious that Palin isn't even in the minors - she's in the T-ball league (and she has a pretty crappy batting average there).


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Monday, September 29, 2008

133 Republicans don't "put country first"

So, while the Republicans and McCain's campaign accused Obama and Democrats of putting "politics ahead of country," 133 Republicans voted against the bail-out. Why did these "Country First" Republicans voted against the bail-out? Well, according to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), these "Country Firsters" Republicans who planned on an AYE vote for the sake of the country had no choice but to change their vote because Nancy Pelosi forced them to:
"I do believe that the vote could have succeeded," Boehner said in a news conference. "But the speaker had to give a partisan speech ... that poisoned our caucus."

When was the last time anyone ever asked you for $700 billion?

It’s a staggering figure and many questions have arisen from that request. And we have been hearing a very informed debate on all sides of this issue here today. I’m proud of the debate.

$700 billion. A staggering number, but only a part of the cost of the failed Bush economic policies to our country. Policies that were built on budget recklessness when Pres. Bush took office, he inherited Pres. Clinton’s surpluses - four years in a row budget surpluses on a trajectory of $5.6 trillion in surplus. And with his reckless economic policies, within two years, he had turned it around. And now 8 years later, the foundation of that fiscal irresponsibility, combined with an “anything goes” economic policy, has taken us to where we are today.

They claim to be free-market advocates, when it’s really an anything goes mentality. No regulation, no supervision, no discipline. And if you fail, you will have a golden parachute and the taxpayer will bail you out.

Those days are over. The party is over in that respect.

Democrats believe in a free market. We know that it can create jobs, it can create wealth, many good things in our economy. But in this case, in this unbridled form, as encouraged and supported by the Republicans — some Republicans, not all — it has created not jobs, not capital, it has created chaos. And it is that chaos that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Fed came to see us, just about a week and a half ago. It seems like an eternity, doesn’t it? So much has happened. The news was so bad. They described a very dismal situation.

Pelosi, for the record, voted AYE, as did 139 other Democrats and 65 Republicans. In other words, according to Boehner, Eric Cantor (R-VA) and the McCain campaign, Republicans by and large are so petty that they'd rather completely destroy the economy and hurt this country and its citizens rather than vote the same way as Nancy Pelosi. So which country is it that Republicans are putting first?


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Delayed Reaction to the Ohio Mosque Attack

I don't know how I managed to miss the news about someone spraying an irritant to hurt congregants of a Dayton area Mosque, but that I did. Worshippers were praying at the Mosque to mark the final days of Ramadan, the Muslim Holy month and any attack on a Mosque at that time is something akin to attacking a synagogue during Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, or attacking a Church at Christmas or Easter. Of course, attacking a house of worship - any house of worship, just because you do not share the views of another religion is something I'm pretty sure G-d would find to be an egregious offence (to say the least).

Many people are now questioning whether a hatefilled DVD that's been played on FOX and distributed through local newspapers may have contributed to escalating anti-Islamic rhetoric as well as this attack. Ya think? The DVD, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West", is a hateful piece of shite that could only have been put together by people who are, obviously, easily threatened by those who don't suscribe to the developers narrow-minded politico-religious views. Let's be honest, there's only one reason some people are so easily threatened by the mere existence people subscribing to the views of another religion: they're very weak in their own faith.

I can not find words adequate to express my utter disgust at the hate-mongering behing this DVD and the actions people appear to be taking against an entire religion. The so-called Religious Right needs to remove their rose-colored glassed take a good hard look at itself and realize that when they rail against "Islamofascists" they are railing against themselves. In principle, the extremist fundamentalist/orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims are essentially the same. While (in this century) there have not been as many attacks and acts of terror committed in the name of Christianity (or Judaism) as there have been in the name of Islam, the hate-filled rhetoric, insistance that secular law match fundamentalist/orthodox "biblical" law and, now, physical attacks are just a sign that the Christofascists are scaling up and will eventually match the fervor of the Islamofascists overseas.

I feel the need to remind you "Christians" who think this hate-mongering DVD or the resultant attack on the Mosque in Dayton are acceptable of Matthew 6:5:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
To any Jews who are not offended by this hate-mongering, on this Erev Rosh Hashana, I say shame on you. We've been there (heck, to a certain extent, we're still there) so it is our duty to support other "strangers" in our communities.


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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hell is for homeowners

All week, news of the bailout to help our economy was front-page. Congress was close on a deal that included assistance to homeowners (being able to have a judge, essentially, renegotiate mortgage terms on a primary residence as can be done for second homes and companies) but that went by the wayside when John McCain suspended his campaign to get directly involved in the development and finalization of the bail-out plan. Yesterday, we received news that those spineless jellyfish known as Democrats caved to remove any assistance to strapped homeowners facing foreclosure. Today, with the bailout plans now limited to kiss the boo-boos of irresponsible rich people with multiple homes and golden parachutes providing exorbitant amounts of [poor and middle-class] tax-payers cash to those who caused the crisis, we hear that Congress is really close to a deal.

According to the Associate Press, while McCain didn't say a dang thing during the photo-op meeting that required he put the election on hold and rush to DC for face-to-face negotiations of the bail-out crisis, he steered the development of the current plan by phone
After making a dramatic entrance on Capitol Hill Thursday to be part of the bailout negotiations, McCain stayed away Saturday as lawmakers inched toward an agreement. He made phone calls to the White House and GOP leaders from his suburban condominium and later at campaign headquarters.

Aides said that in addition to Bush, McCain spoke with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and about a dozen influential Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Eric Cantor, a leader of a House GOP effort to craft an alternative plan.

According to McCain senior strategist Mark Salter, the Senator already used the dramatics of pretending to put the country first by pretending to put his campaign on hold and now prefers to openly interject Presidential politics "can effectively do what he needs to do by phone."

On another interesting note, McCain actually used the term "sophomoric" when describing Senator Obama's experience and understanding of foreign affairs. UPDATE: boy do I need to pay more attention sometimes, it was Plouffe who referred to McCain's tactics as sophomoric. Amanda also picked up on McCain's attitude treating Obama as some pipsqueak who had no right to be running against him. Mind you, the [Obama] doesn't understand comments are rich coming from the man who brought Sarah "I see RUSSIA" Palin to national prominence as his heir-apparent.


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Marriage Is For Children

It's a rainy Sunday morning in the Cranky household today. The D-man is upstairs sleeping in after a restless night of ear problems, Kid Dynamite is curled up on the couch and I'm a drinking some joe while reading this morning's Inky featuring an Op-Ed against Same Sex Marriage. While this piece has the same chorus and refrain it is, according to its author, different in that he is a liberal democrat which, ostensibly, means that it's OK for him to support something discriminatory because he's not a bigot. He is David Blankenhorn and since he studied the history and anthropology of marriage, his opinion matters even though he is disregarding the fact that, up until recently, religion was the dominating force in what would be acceptable with regard to marriage and sexuality (at least in public). The core of Blankenhorn's argument is this:

Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving, and many of its features vary across groups and cultures. But there is one constant. In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children.

In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood - biological, social and legal - into one pro-child form: the married couple. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and a father, accountable to the child and to each other.

As I've said in the past (multiple times, in fact), this implies that a "traditional family" (defined as a family headed up by a married couple limited to that comprised by one man and one woman) is, by default, a superior family "form" just by the nature of the arrangement. While I, personally, do believe that the ideal family is comprised by a man and a woman in a stable, committed, monogamous relationship raising their children in a warm, secure, positive and nurturing environment, I am under no illusion that any marriage based on a "traditional" heterosexual relationship meets my definition of ideal (or even acceptable) purely based on the fact the family is headed up by a heterosexual couple. "Traditional" is no guarantee of appropriate involvement and support for a child from both his/her father and mother nor is is any more of a guarantee that a child's parents will really be there to love and support each other or the child or that, even in the event they don't stay together to support one another, they will do the right thing by all of their child(ren).

Blankenhorn makes all kinds of assumptions, about an institution he admits is evolving, that are not accurate today, have not been completely accurate for some time and may not have always been accurate in the good old days of yore. Unfortunately for Blankenhorn's argument (and society): children are born out of wedlock to parents who may or may not get married; marriages have a high divorce rate even when there are children involved; and "staying together" does not mean the marriage is by any means happy or healthy for the parents or their children. He also brings up this old chestnut:

In 2002 - just moments before it became highly unfashionable to say so - a team of researchers from Child Trends, a nonpartisan research center, reported that "family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage."

For these reasons, children have the right, insofar as society can make it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. The foundational human rights document in the world today regarding children, the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, specifically guarantees children this right.

followed by an assertion that children of gay couples will be denied their birthright to know and have a relationship with their biological parents which are, by default (one can only assume based on the emphasis Blankenhorn places on this imperative), superior to adoptive parents who are merely poor surrogates raising someone else's child. He may take issue with my pointing out this error because he undermines his argument by bringing up adoption himself:
Do you think that every child deserves his mother and father, with adoption available for those children whose natural parents cannot care for them? Do you suspect that fathers and mothers are different from one another? Do you imagine that biological ties matter to children? How many parents per child is best? Be careful how you answer. In making the case for same-sex marriage, more than a few grown-ups will be quite willing to question your integrity and good will. Children, of course, are rarely consulted.
I have to be honest, I don't know where to start with the above. In my mind I envision these words coming out of the mouth of a well-intentioned but not really clear-minded adolescent girl (or Elisabeth Hasselback). First off, adoption doesn't appear to be available for all children whose "natural" parents can't/won't raise them - we've got lots of kids (healthy and not) in foster care here in the US. Blankenhorn also seems to go off on some sort of irrational tangent that, in voting to approve SSM, the next step is to encode opinions about how many children a couple should be allowed to have (heck, why not age difference between children while we're at it?). The only real importance of biological ties are that they provide "family medical history" which can be very helpful for a person. If you think that being raised by you biological parents routinely gives one a substantive edge in this matter, think again. From my own experience in clinical research, I can tell you that few people are really that aware of their family medical history, much of the time they become of that information after they've been diagnosed with a disorder.

Limiting marriage to one man and one woman has not increased the stability of marriage as an instution, nor does it have an impact on the sanctity or stability of individual marriages. What it does do is undermine the stability of families - families that include children both biological and adopted, who desire to have the same rights and protections under the law that are guaranteed by the US Consititution. Blankenhorn actually acknowledges this but then goes back to the injury to a child's birth-right. Children adopted in "traditional" marriages also would have this terrible denial to their birth-right, but Blankenhorn doesn't seem to mind that their adoption is celebrated as a good thing as he does for children of gay couples.

The only reason to enact or support legislation against SSM is because you really want to hurt gay people and put their families at undue risk. That is exactly what Blankenhorn proposes for the spurious reason of the mythological birth-right.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Presidential Dreams: An American Fairy Tale

Once upon a time (a couple of days ago), in a land far away (a couple of states over) a Maverick named John McCain announced that, for the sake of the land's fundamentally strong economy, he would cast aside all his hard work towards his Presidential dreams to work with Congress lead the country's knights in rusty armor to save the land from the threatened horror of recession so its people would not whine anymore a full-blown depression.

John McCain said this
"It's time for both parties to come together to solve this problem,"
and this
"We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved,"
and then suspended his noble quest for the Presidency, except for advertising, sending his advisers and surrogates to talk to the media, and campaigning himself. Due to the urgency of the situation, the Great Senator rushed to the land's capital in haste to join the knights as they tried to screw the land's serfs and peasants avert disaster and save the land from financial ruin.

Everyone was so pleased that the Senator, a real live hero, would join the knights to save the day;
“We need leadership, not a photo op” said Harry Reid
“The threats to Americans, and their homes, savings and retirements, is not a partisan problem, and it won’t be fixed with a partisan approach” said Mitch McConnell

When John McCain finally made it to the palace Capitol he met with lesser nobles and then, with his trusty side-kick Sir Senator Lindsey Graham, he burst into the knights' luncheon and instead of stopping for some tasty Tex-Mex, he rose in front of the knights who had made some progress towards an agreement and spoke
"I appreciate what you've done here, but I'm not going to sign on to a deal just to sign the deal," McCain told the gathering, according to Graham and confirmed by multiple Senate GOP aides. "Just like Iraq, I'm not afraid to go it alone if I need to."


"You all put me on the hook for $700 billion"
The place erupted in chaos as the knights realized they may have been duped by those in league with the dark knight (and I don't mean Heath Ledger) whose goal was to have another succeed the lame-duck President trusted leader King George. Nobly, our hero went on to meet with King George and the dreaded dark knight at the White House.

At the White House meeting, McCain - attended to by only a campaign aide - met with the most powerful leaders of the lands' provinces, King George, and the dark knight - who brought along a member of his staff. The leaders started talking about the crisis and what could be done. Then, the dark knight turned to our hero and, in all his professorial splendor, said
"What do you think of the [insurance] plan, John?"
he asked again, and again, and our hero said nothing. Our hero, proud he had singlehandedly, foiled any plans of the various fractions of the land coming to a mutual agreement. Then he stood, walked toward the door, shook hands with the Marines and left.


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John McCain: The American Veteran's Deadbeat Dad

From Pam's, proof positive that Viet Nam War-Hero & former POW Presidential Candidate John McCain has a truly McShameful voting record when it comes veterans of his own war's sequel

During the debate last night, McCain indicated that if he were to limit government spending, he would not spend a dime on anything but "defense, veteran affairs and entitlement program". This statement is interesting for 2 reasons: (1) McCain has no intention whatsover to help the middle class, working poor or anyone who is not rich obtain access to healthcare or tax relief and (2) McCain has a truly reprehensible voting record when it comes to veterans' affairs. From One Pissed Off Veteran, McCain's support for our friend, the American Veteran, is evidenced as follows:
  1. August 2001 -- McCain votes against increasing the amount of cash available for veterans' medical care
  2. March 2004 -- McCain votes against creating a reserve fund for veterans' medical care
  3. March 2006 -- McCain votes against increasing veterans' medical services funding
  4. May 2006 -- McCain votes against additional funding to the VA for health care facilities
  5. September 2007 -- McCain votes against the Webb Amendment, which would have provided for adequate periods of rest between deployments to Iraq
Despite his atrocious voting record, McCain still tells people that as a former POW (I know, something he rarely uses for political purposes), he knows better than most what is best for our soldiers not only during combat, but how to help them when they're finally home:

MCCAIN: Jim, when I came home from prison, I saw our veterans being very badly treated, and it made me sad. And I embarked on an effort to resolve the POW-MIA issue, which we did in a bipartisan fashion, and then I worked on normalization of relations between our two countries so that our veterans could come all the way home.

I guarantee you, as president of the United States, I know how to heal the wounds of war, I know how to deal with our adversaries, and I know how to deal with our friends.

Why McCain has the support of a majority of veterans is beyond me. From McCain's statement above, one can only surmise that McCain is indicating that it will be his transformation from Senator to POTUS that will miraculously make him someone who heals veterans instead of someone who hurts them. Either that or or McCain really is saying that the best way to heal the wounds of war is to ensure that those veterans who aren't lucky enough to be discharged dead are helped to find a speedy resolution for all that ails them.


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Friday, September 26, 2008

Tonight's Debate: McCain Nails Palin?

The only thing in tonight's debate that was funnier than John McCain indicating her knew Pakistan was a failed state when he didn't know the US economy was in the crapper was the way he nailed Sarah "No More OK, some Earmarks" Palin's earmark.

During tonight's campaign:

MCCAIN: Well, the first thing we have to do is get spending under control in Washington. It's completely out of control. It's gone -- we have now presided over the largest increase in the size of government since the Great Society.

We Republicans came to power to change government, and government changed us. And the -- the worst symptom on this disease is what my friend, Tom Coburn, calls earmarking as a gateway drug, because it's a gateway. It's a gateway to out-of-control spending and corruption.

And we have former members of Congress now residing in federal prison because of the evils of this earmarking and pork-barrel spending.

You know, we spent $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if that was a criminal issue or a paternal issue, but the fact is that it was $3 million of our taxpayers' money. And it has got to be brought under control.

As president of the United States, I want to assure you, I've got a pen. This one's kind of old. I've got a pen, and I'm going to veto every single spending bill that comes across my desk. I will make them famous. You will know their names.

Now, Senator Obama, you wanted to know one of the differences. a million dollars for every day that he's been in the United States Senate.

I suggest that people go up on the Web site of Citizens Against Government Waste, and they'll look at those projects.

That kind of thing is not the way to rein in runaway spending in Washington, D.C. That's one of the fundamental differences that Senator Obama and I have.

Sarah Palin during her interview with Charlie Gibson

GIBSON: Governor, this year, requested $3.2 million for researching the genetics of harbor seals, money to study the mating habits of crabs. Isn't that exactly the kind of thing that John McCain is objecting to?

PALIN: Why yes Charlie, it is. Come to think of it, I'm mortified that my state pissed those federal funds away on some stupid science project. Those requests, through our research divisions and fish and game and our wildlife departments and our universities, those research requests did come through that system, but wanting it to be in the light of day, not behind closed doors, with lobbyists making deals with Congress to stick things in there under the public radar. That's the abuse that we're going to stop. That's what John McCain has promised over and over for these years and that's what I'm joining him, also, saying, you're right, the abuse of earmarks, it's un-American, it's undemocratic, and it's not going to be accepted in a McCain-Palin administration. Earmark abuse will stop.
As for that country Mrs Palin can see form her house, Obama and McCain both objected to Russia's actions with regard to Soviet Georgia but Johnny-boy seemed to either not really be sure what happened last month or was subtly acknowledging US encouragement of Georgia's aggression and equally bad behavior.

MCCAIN: Well, I was interested in Senator Obama's reaction to the Russian aggression against Georgia. His first statement was, "Both sides ought to show restraint."

Again, a little bit of naivete there. He doesn't understand that Russia committed serious aggression against Georgia. And Russia has now become a nation fueled by petro-dollars that is basically a KGB apparatchik-run government.

I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, and I saw three letters, a "K," a "G," and a "B." And their aggression in Georgia is not acceptable behavior.

I don't believe we're going to go back to the Cold War. I am sure that that will not happen. But I do believe that we need to bolster our friends and allies. And that wasn't just about a problem between Georgia and Russia. It had everything to do with energy.

There's a pipeline that runs from the Caspian through Georgia through Turkey. And, of course, we know that the Russians control other sources of energy into Europe, which they have used from time to time.

It's not accidental that the presidents of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine flew to Georgia, flew to Tbilisi, where I have spent significant amount of time with a great young president, Misha Saakashvili.

MCCAIN: And they showed solidarity with them, but, also, they are very concerned about the Russian threats to regain their status of the old Russian to regain their status of the old Russian empire.

Now, I think the Russians ought to understand that we will support -- we, the United States -- will support the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in the natural process, inclusion into NATO.

We also ought to make it very clear that the Russians are in violation of their cease-fire agreement. They have stationed additional troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

By the way, I went there once, and we went inside and drove in, and there was a huge poster. And this is -- this is Georgian territory. And there was a huge poster of Vladimir Putin, and it said, "Vladimir Putin, our president."

It was very clear, the Russian intentions towards Georgia. They were just waiting to seize the opportunity.

So, this is a very difficult situation. We want to work with the Russians. But we also have every right to expect the Russians to behave in a fashion and keeping with a -- with a -- with a country who respects international boundaries and the norms of international behavior.

And watch Ukraine. This whole thing has got a lot to do with Ukraine, Crimea, the base of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol. And the breakdown of the political process in Ukraine between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko is a very serious problem.

So watch Ukraine, and let's make sure that we -- that the Ukrainians understand that we are their friend and ally.

For the record:
  • South Ossettia does not want to be part of Georgia
  • Georgia launched a military offensive, in violation of a 1992 ceasefire, crossed a security zoned to surround & capture Tskhinvali
  • Both Russia and Georgia used cluster-bombs on each other
In other words, Georgia isn't some innocent little victim. While McCain's posturing on the issue doesn't really surprise me, I was (for some reason) a little caught off guard by his direct references to Russian controlled pipelines. I guess that, in light of Sarah Palin eagerness to go to war with Russia, we can only guess that the true underlying reason for being so aggressive is the sheer excitement of yet another war for oil. More support for a McSame administration.


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I have a passport therefore I am a spoiled elitist

I'm sorry, I pretty much gathered that Sarah Palin would have a problem with the fact I'm a jew but I really didn't think she'd go so far as to insinuate that I am some sort of elitist spoiled child
I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world.

No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world. Sarah Palin to Katie Couric
I've worked all my life too: I worked in HS to save for college; I went to an inexpensive state school and worked to pay my way through college; and I still work.

Despite not living anywhere near an international border, my parents drove my brother and I up Canada when we were kids (we even went to Quebec, where they speak a whole different language). I did get my passport after I graduated from college and made my first trip overseas. The bulk of my passport needing travel was for work and, whenever possible, I tried to experience and understand as much of the local culture as possible.
Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters.
I guess that, if Sarah Palin is an expert on foreign affairs when she's never crossed the borders of either of the countries her state shares I have no choice but to admit that despite my upper-poverty upbringing, I AM AN ELITIST .


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mothers have a friend in Sarah Palin - or not

Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has intimated that, as a mother of 5, women - especially other mothers would have someone in the Whitehouse that would take their concerns seriously. This buoyed the hopes of 15 mothers who decided this was the time to reach out to the candidate
MomsRising, which in two short years has amassed a membership of 140,000 citizens and counts 85 affiliated groups nationwide, yesterday tried to hand-deliver a letter signed by thousands of its members to Palin's office in Washington. In its letter, the group says it was dazzled to see a mom on stage at the Republican convention, accepting the nomination for vice president, but that it has some questions for her. MR wants to know where she stands on issues such as healthcare, afterschool programs, paid sick days and equal pay for working women. LA Times

So how did the Palinistas react to the mob-o-moms? They blew them off, telling group to drop the letter in the post.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain would fire guy he hired and hire guys that should be fired

As we all know, when our "fundamentally strong" economy necessitated discussion of a $700B bail-out, John McCain announced he would fire SEC Chairman Chris Cox for being at fault for the mess. Despite the fact the President is not empowered to fire the Chair of the SEC (unless the Shrub enacted secret law saying he can fire whomever he pleases), McCain conveniently forgot two other things: #1 - McCain helped hire Cox and, #2 - at least part of the reason McCain Liked Cox for the position, was because Cox wrote the the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act which was a key component to the Republican financial plan based on the deregulation that McCain is suddenly against.

The problems with current mortgage crisis, according to John "Why doesn't Jimmy Choo make Flip-Flops" McCain & his running mate Sarah "The Reformer" Palin is due to "long-term mismanagement and flawed structure" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a matter of fact, the Republican ticket vowed to restructure the failed organizations in a WSJ editorial:

Fixing Fannie and Freddie, and reforming our mortgage and financial markets, is critical to getting the housing market and the entire economy moving again. A great deal of the savings and wealth of American families is wrapped up in the value of their homes. A house has traditionally been the wealth-building course to retirement. The housing industry employs millions of Americans. One of us, John McCain, said over two years ago, "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose."

Fannie and Freddie's lobbyists succeeded and Congress failed. Under our administration this will not happen again

Apparently, the start of that restructuring has begun already - and it's started with the McCain-Palin Campaign who have hired Fannie/Freddie lobyists to play critical parts in their campaign and the transition team for their planned administration.

Ah, that odor wafting from "The Reformer's" headquarters must be the sweet smell of change fermented bullshit.


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin's Priorities: domestic violence & sexual assault

The McCain-Palin campaign insists that fighting domestic violence and sexual assault are priorities for Palin. And they say she has been looking at other programs to support. CNN
The McCain-Palin camp is on the offensive desperately showing that VP candidate Sarah Palin is not the insensitive woman-hating woman people may think she is because she allowed her own city to charge victims for rape kits. According to Palin's supporters, then-Mayor Palin was completely unaware that her city was charging for rape kits despite hiring a Chief of Police who threw a public hissy fit when legislation was passed barring the practice. Palin's former Deputy-Mayor, Judy Patrick, doesn't bother to pretend that Palin didn't know about the practice, she says the state of Alaska forced the city into charging victims:

Judy Patrick, who was Palin's deputy mayor and friend, blames the state.

"The bigger picture of what was going on at the time was that the state was trying to cut their own budget, and one of the things that they were doing was passing on costs to cities, and that was one of the many things that they were passing on, the cost to the city," said Patrick, who recalls enormous pressure to keep the city's budget down.

Except that's not true. The state never responsible for local criminal investigations and, under the previous administration and Police Chief Palin fired, the Wasilla PD paid for costs of rape kits from a fund for miscellaneous costs - a fund Palin cut by more than half, apparently, without even asking what the funds were used for. According to Patrick

Palin would review each department's budget line by line and send it back to department heads with her changes.

"Sarah is a fiscal conservative, and so she had seen that the city was heading in a direction of bigger projects, costing taxpayers more money, and she was determined to change that," Patrick said.

And change that she did didn't - she raised a regressive sales tax, reduced a progressive property tax helping large corporations more than residents and borrowed money for a litigation-laden attempt to build a sports-complex. In short, the fiscal conservative that inherited a debt-free city, left behind a city $22M in the hole - and yet, she couldn't work out a deal to increase the budget of the Police Department to pay for rape-kits.

Further evidence of Palin's commitment to fighting domestic violence and sexual assault: according to Palin's supporters, she didn't fire Alaska Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, because he refused to fire he former brother-in-law, she really fired him for going to DC to lobby for federal funds for an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program.

Yeah, the McCain campaign says fighting domestic violence and sexual assault are priorities for Palin now but they sure as hell weren't until everyone else started looking in to her extensive executive experience.


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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tennessee Democrat State Rep's son under investigation for hacking Palin

David Kernell, a 20-year old student at University of Tennessee and son of Democratic State Representative Mike Kernell, is facing some serious whoop-ass from the feds for his youthful hijnks of hacking into the email account of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

A Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed there has been "investigatory activity" in Knoxville regarding the Palin case, but she said there are no publicly available search warrants, and no charges have been filed.

A separate law enforcement source confirmed to 10 News that a search warrant was served on Kernell's apartment.

According to the witness, several agents arrived at The Commons of Knoxville around midnight.

They presented their badges upon entering Kernell's apartment, where several students were having a party, and took down their names.

The witness tells us they asked him and those who did not live in the unit to go outside. He believes the investigators took about 1.5 to 2 hours taking pictures of everything inside the apartment. WBIR

The dumbass kid has also earned his roommates a trip to Chattanooga so they, unlike the First Dude and the Palinistas, can comply with subpoenas for their testimony.


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In Case You Didn't Know: The CONSTITUTION established America as a CHRISTIAN Nation

John McCain thinks his faith is a better spiritual guidance for a leader than any other. He also notes that we'll welcome just about anyone here in the US, but any one who lives here must understand the American=Christian philosophy, after all the founding of the US was "man implementing the teachings of Christ"

The First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Note: the amendment does not say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion", it says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Of course, I'm being very literal in my read. . .

Additionally, John Adams, a founding father who was the 2nd President of the US explicitly stated otherwise in the Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli [emphasis added]:
"The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries"

While the article was removed after the treaty was broken in 1801 and the treaty renegotiated in 1805, the intent of the founding fathers is as clear as the intent of the McCain-Palin "Small town values equals good Christian values" ticket.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Sarah Palin may not think too highly of Barack Obama but she absolutely loves his ideas so much, she wants to put them to use in her administration. First, now that she's against earmarks, she's definitely on board with Obama's Good Government, Responsible Spending Sarah Palin's Government Transparency train and now she's come up with the novel idea to put the government checkbook on line and, yep, you guessed it - that bastard Obama beat her to it with his Google for Government bill.


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The straw that broke the Palin's back

Well, according to documents uncovered by ABC News, it looks like Sarah Palin is not exactly lying when she says she didn't fire Walt Monegan [purely] for refusing to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She fired him for a much more egregious reason, his "rogue" mentality and refusal to follow her every directive:
"The last straw," her lawyer argued, came when he planned a trip to Washington, D.C., to seek federal funds for an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program. The project, expected to cost from $10 million to $20 million a year for five years, would have been the first of its kind in Alaska, which leads the nation in reported forcible rape.

The McCain-Palin campaign echoed the charge in a press release it distributed Monday, concurrent with Palin's legal filing. "Mr. Monegan persisted in planning to make the unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.," the release stated. ABC News
See the rogue mentality, which lead Monegan to buck the pressure to join Palin's personal vendetta again former her brother-in-law Trooper Mike Wooten, also lead the reckless renegade of a Public Safety Commissioner to do the job he was hired to do. To this effect, Monegan obtained authorization to travel from Palin's Chief of Staff instead of getting a permission slip from Mrs. Palin herself and, when you're in the scope of Sarahcuda's crossbow, zigging when you should have zagged is a violation of her administration's directives and a fireable offense. This means that, while the Palin administration permitted Monegan to travel to DC in his official capacity, he wasn't allowed to say or do anything without the expressed written permission of the governor herself. According to Palin aide, Randy Ruaro:

Monegan asked for -- and received -- approval for the travel without telling Palin's staff his reason for going. "As a matter of routine, the travel was approved by Mike Nizich ... weeks before the actual purpose was made clear by former Commissioner Monegan," Ruaro wrote.

"When you receive permission to travel, it does not mean that you receive blanket authorization to discuss or do whatever you would like on that trip," he added.

So there you have it folks: any state Public Safety Commissioner who wants to travel to a meeting to obtain support to curb acts of sexual violence plaguing his/her state is dangerous, irresponsible and insubordinate - even when authorization to travel to attend a meeting with a US Senator representing the state is obtained. If the Palinista's were so concerned that Monegan was a renegade (disloyal to her administration), why did they not specifically ask what the topic of Monegan's meeting with Senator Murkowski would be and/or what, exactly, Monegan planned to do during his business trip to DC?

h/t to Lev Raphael


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Friday, September 19, 2008

The tyranny of secular refusal to adhere to religious dogma

Yesterday, Autumn posted a diary at Pam's in which she raised the issue of Conservative Republican David Benkof's decision to stop supporting California's Proposition 8. The reason Benkoff's Benkof's change of heart is so interesting, is the fact that he's not about to vote against Proposition 8 because he now realizes that it would be wrong to deny gay people the same right to marry as straight people have, he's against it because the Pro-Proposition 8 bigots believe in spreading the hate:
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, so I supported the man-woman marriage Proposition 8 in California - until I discovered the Proposition 8 campaign tolerates discrimination against Jews. ProtectMarriage.com's legal counsel, the Alliance Defense Fund, has in effect a "No Jews Need Apply" policy for legal and even secretarial positions. They say they're not a law firm, they're a "ministry" and thus have a right to discriminate against Jews and other non-Christians. But even if that's true, Proposition 8 had hundreds of law firms to choose from. The fact they chose one that refuses to hire a Jew like me is very disturbing. Interestingly, Jesus himself was a Jew, so when a group has a policy that would lead them to refuse to hire their own Messiah, you know something's seriously wrong.
The post started an interesting firestorm of comments starting with my comment that Benkof should be ashamed of himself and degenerating into a weird argument in which Benkof had to explain that he's not "ex-gay" - he's still gay, just not a practicing homosexual (the gay verion of being a secular Jew or something along those lines). It also spawned a thread in which Benkof had the stones to join the christotheocratic chorus decrying "secularists" for refusing to be forced to accept religiously based legislation as a way to impose religion on non-adherents:

As for "forced," you want to have your secular beliefs forced on me. All I'm doing is using my one vote and my freedom of speech and the press to get the laws to represent my values. You do the same. Are you saying only you should have input into the laws? I really don't understand.

In a nutshell, anyone who supports allowing the US government to enact bible-based legislation because it happens to conform to their personal/religious views is condoning theocracy. In other words, one does not have to support a forced conversion to be suppressing the religious freedom of another. Your right to religious expression does not supersede my right to religious freedom.

Those of us who object to Proposition 8 as the imposition of the religious dogma of others on non-adherents are not, in any way, forcing those who object to Same Sex Marriage (SSM) to condone, partake in or otherwise support the marriage of gay people. As a gay man whose religious views are inconsistent with his own nature, Mr. Benkof can apply his conscientious objection to homosexuality and SSM by living in accordance with his understanding of the tenets of his religion; by not indulging whatever feelings or attractions he has to men and by not supporting any gay acquaintances who choose to marry. Benkof may be doing the right thing in exposing the bigotry of "ProtectMarriage.com" but his complaints about their practices and beliefs are, in fact, as much as an indictment of himself as they are of the organization he now holds in contempt.

In this, it's probably appropriate to reflect on the JFK's address to the Southern Baptist Leaders a little over 48 years ago:

But let me stress again that these are my views -- for, contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President [but the candidate] who happens also to be a Catholic.

I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me.

Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected -- on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling, or any other subject -- I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictate. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come -- and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible -- when my office would require me to either violate my conscience, or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office, and I hope any other conscientious public servant would do likewise.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Douché 2: Executive privilege by injection

In a follow-up to his wife's I was for being held accountable before I was against it flip flop, First Dude Todd Palin has invoked his executive privilege and is refusing to comply with the subpoena issued for him for the growing Troopergate scandal. The stated reasons for refusal to comply have ranged from an accusation that the investigation is a partisan attempt to derail the McCain-Palin-McCain campaign to the Republican Alaskan AG's concern that Palin's staff would feel disloyal providing any testimony against her

Colberg, who was appointed by Palin, said the employees are caught between their respect for the Legislature and their loyalty to the governor, who initially agreed to cooperate with the inquiry but has increasingly opposed it since McCain chose her as his running mate.

"This is an untenable position for our clients because the governor has so strongly stated that the subpoenas issued by your committee are of questionable validity," Colberg wrote. Newsvine

I guess the easiest way to quash a subpoena is to make sure you ensure you argue strongly against being investigated say you really, really, REALLY don't want to be investigated (not to be confused with providing a strong case against the investigation).

The state's republican party has, obviously, decided that Palin should have been investigated if she was just going to stay Governor but once there was the possibility of her tanking the Republican Presidential campaign being embarrassed for being busted for abuse of power they decided that reforming "The Reformer" was a little too mean.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A group discount and a side of fries

My dear friend, Don "I'm obsessed by what's going on in your bedroom" Wildmon, sent me this lovely email asking me to inform everyone I know about how McDonald's sent it's staff to a training seminar in Austin, TX and had the audacity to let the organizers know they were sending enough staff to qualify for a 10% group discount. According to Wildmon,

Eligibility to receive the discount required "groups of 15 or more registrants for the full price 3-day (Out & Equal 2008 Workplace) Summit."

McDonald's applied for the special "discount code" off the regular registration price of $775 per person. The registration price did not include the employee's air travel, hotel and meal expenses.

The Out & Equal Summit provides HR types and employee resource groups an opportunity to network with others and share best practices for managing diversity & employment benefits programs. It is, of course, appropriate for McDonald's to send their HR staff to this summit as the company does offer health insurance (including dental & vision) coverage for domestic partners and dependents of FT employees as well as has a medical benefits package that covers gender reassignment surgery, post-operative care and mental health counseling.

I really couldn't tell why Don seemed so angry in his email. After all, even though the economy is A-OK, I'm sure that McDonald's finance department would have been upset if they hadn't asked for the discount - that's a minimum of a $1,162 the company saved. Even though I'm not a shareholder, it's nice to know that the folks at McDonald's are being fiscally responsible.

Any way, Don also sent me this link that lets you locate a McDonald's near you so you can write the manager to let them know you think it's great they're committed to diversity - even though they look like cheapskates for asking for the discount.


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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


John "the fundamentals of the US economy are strong" McCain has finally decided that maybe the current economic problems facing our country aren't only "mental" in nature and has announced that, as President, he will take decisive action. Buoyed by Carly Fiorina's ringing endorsement of his executive capabilities, McCain has decided to address our economic woes by putting together a commission:

It's clear that the failed policies of the Bush administration, rife with corruption and disdain for regulation, have made this recession unavoidable and it's abundantly clear that a McCain-Palin administration is more than one Bush sequel too many for this country to bear. Now that he's been busted on his total oblivion to the economic crisis and the fact that people realize his running mate's idea of reform is to just be a little less corrupt, McCain is suddenly saying that he's all gung-ho for reform and regulation. Says Jeffrey Sachs, a economist and special advisor the U.N. secretary-general [emphasis, mine]:
"I think right now that this is a recession that's going to happen," he said."I don't see anybody being able to stop that giant wave. The question is how we get out if it."

Sachs said he thinks Obama's plan is "closer" to being on target, with his calls for regulation. McCain also has started talking about increased regulation, but Sachs said McCain has "reinvented himself in the last 24 hours" with such talk. CNN


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Monday, September 15, 2008

As transparent as you can get

Long story short: bipartisan legislative panel decides to investigate Palin for abuse of power, Palin claims she has nothing to hide, Palin hides. Yup, she's transparent all right.


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Oliver 2008!

The state of Nebraska's safe haven law took effect in July and, this week-end, the first kids were turned in to hospitals under this law. In one case, a 44-year old woman turned in her 15-year old nephew because she couldn't handle his behavioral problems. The other child, also turned in due to behavioral issues, is an 11-year old boy turned over to a hospital in Omaha by his mother.

The actual intent of the law was to introduced to protect infants at imminent risk of harm and, people have expressed concerns about the possibility of parents/guardians using the lack of definition of "child" in the law to shirk their responsibilities. Considering the state of the economy (A-OK according to McCain) otherwise kids of strapped families may need to fear any sudden trip to the cornhusker state.


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

¡pantalones en el fuego!

from All Spin Zone. . . .Pass it along


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Turdblossom turns absurdist comedian

"They ought to -- there ought to be an adult who says, 'Do we really need to go that far in this ad? Don't we make our point and won't we get broader acceptance and deny the opposition an opportunity to attack us if we don't include that one little last tweak in the ad?' - Karl Rove

Yeah, THAT Karl Rove


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Since the McCain-Palin administration is considering war with Russia

Last month, Russia-Georgia tensions exploded as Russia began an armed offensive against Georgia over South Ossetia. Since the breakdown of the USSR, the region has been less than stable and the root of much of this instability is "ethnic tensions". South Ossetia in Georgia is no different but the degree to which Russia and Georgia are willing to fight this battle out is of great concern. To make a long story short, the South Ossetians aren't to happy about having been annexed by Georgia (where they're treated like second class citizens) and held a referendum in 2006 in which they voted for independence.

Sarah Palin has a problem with a larger country invading a smaller country (if that smaller country is considered "Democratic") and thinks that smaller (unstable) country, Georgia, should be invited into NATO and that the US should go to war to protect them.

We have a puppet in Georgia, his name is Mikheil Saakashvili. According to the Russians, the US has helped finance the militarization of Georgia. Now, granted, the Russians are not the most reliable of sources but the US government does have a history of a philosophy is that the enemy of our enemy is our friend - remember when Saddam Hussein was our friend and ally? South Ossetia's desire to be independent of Georgia be damned - we have a game to play and we're prepared for the small people to take the consequences so we can try to control other countries via the puppetmasters we install/support.

McCain-Palin has decided that Russia is solely at fault and the only agressor, so like our invasion of Iraq, the Republicans are willing to further destabilize an unstable region by considering yet another war.
  • 07Aug08 - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered a cease-fire; fighting intensified
  • 08Aug08 - Georgia launched a military offensive, in violation of a 1992 ceasefire, crossed a security zoned to surround & capture Tskhinvali
  • 09Aug08 - Russia got pissed and sunk a Georgian missle boat
  • 12Aug08 - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to a 6-point peace plan brokered by Carla Bruni's husband Nicolas Sarkozy - both sides were to sign the agreement 17Aug08
  • 15Aug08 - the shit hit the fan as Russia dropped cluster bombs on civilian areas of Georgia
  • 1Sep08 - Georgia admits they too have used cluster bombs against their enemy
Anyone who know my family history knows, I'm no fan of the Russians. In this case, my guess is that Saakashvili made some serious miscalculations in bringing things to a boil and these miscalculations were based on the support he receives from BushCo and expects to continue to receive from BushCo II: Palinistas on steroids a McCain-Palin administration. This conflict has the potential to degenerate into something much worse and each side's willingness to use cluster munitions is just a preview of how bad things could get. The US would do better not to further inflame the situation by talking about the possibility of entering a war we can ill afford at this point in time.

For more info on cluster bombs go to Survivor Corps


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Sarah Palin: AGAINST "tax & spend mentality", FOR help with executive duties

We've all heard it from the Republicans before: The Democrats are Tax & Spend liberals who, just by virtue of not being Republican, increase our taxes so they can spend the money on some sort of waste our hard earned money on bridges to nowhere wasteful liberal schemes. Now, courtesy of MSNBC, we have an exact description of what Sarah "the reformer" Palin considers the "Tax & Spend mentality" that inspire her to run for Mayor of Wasilla:
But in her four years on the council, she picked up on sentiment that was building against the three-term incumbent, John Stein, who pushed for the 2 percent sales tax to pay for road, sewer and water upgrades. These investments laid the way for the city's growth, but they also unnerved some residents.

"People said, 'What are you doing to my city? I liked it better when we didn't have government,' '' said Richard Deuser, the city attorney at the time. "And Sarah really pandered to that resentment, that resistance to change. Sarah became their person."
Once in office, Palin hired Michael Brown her chums and outed Valerie Plame got rid of anyone not perceived as loyal to her (or who was bumping uglies with her hubby's friend's ex-wife).

She also scaled back her own less than formidable executive duties:
The universe of the mayor of Wasilla is sharply circumscribed even by the standards of small towns, which limited Palin's exposure to issues such as health care, social services, the environment and education.

Firefighting and schools, two of the main elements of local governance, are handled by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the regional government for a huge swath of central Alaska. The state has jurisdiction over social services and environmental regulations such as stormwater management for building projects.
What Palin did as Mayor was oversee the Police Department created by the previous Mayor and her formal rival for the job, John "his name sounds Jewish" Stein. In this capacity, she fired the guy Stein hired and replaced him with Charlie "I disagree with a bill that prevents me from charging victims for rape kits" Fannon. Palin was also was responsible for the public works department, parks and recreation, a planning office, the library from which she tried to fire the librarian for not being open to book banning and a history museum which caused her headaches. The bulk of the day-to-day running of the city was done by a professional administrator that Palin hired to do the job due to a threat of a recall campaign.

As for her being against the tax & spend mentality, her actions show that she is far from the fiscally responsible conservative she claims to be when running for office.
During her six years as mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same six years, the amount of taxes collected by the city increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax, which even taxed food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though. Borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? Or a new library? No. $1 million for a park. $15 million-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex, which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the city didn't even have clear title to. That was still in litigation seven years later -- to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5 million for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 years without any borrowing. Wasilla Resident, Ann Kilkenny

Yes, with the cronyism, vendettas, secrecy and fiscal irresponsibility, Sarah Palin has proven herself to be a chip of the old BushCo block - but don't ask her about it, that would be sexist.


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