Jun 302008
 

Whatever money problems Johnny McCain may have had seem to now be a thing of the past. He just bought himself a brand new airplane. (Well, new to the McCain campaign, anyway. It’s a Boeing 737-400. Boeing delivered the last of this model in early 2000; the first was delivered in 1988.)

mccain-plane.jpg

The New York Times reports:

The more deluxe accommodations of the plane, which will seat 95 and was paid for by the campaign, will be far different from the less grand Straight Talk bus with alternator problems that the campaign turned to after it nearly ran out of money about a year ago, and even from the Jet Blue charter that his campaign has used in this campaign.

There will be 10 first-class seats up front for Mr. McCain and his guests, as well as a telephone and a fax machine. The journalists who will sit in the back, behind the Secret Service agents, are promised electrical outlets.

And mindful of the lighting issues that have kept Mr. McCain from holding many news conferences on the old plane, the new area will be television-ready. It will be wired for microphones, have specialty lighting and have room for a television camera.

Very nice indeed. Perhaps Johnny and Cindy can keep it and use it to fly between their numerous houses after the campaign is over. (The White House, fortunately for us, will not be one of them.)

Wimping out

 Posted by at 14:39  Democrats, Election 2008, Politics
Jun 302008
 

If the Democrats expect to win this year’s presidential election, they really need to stop wimping out all the time. I’m not kidding around here, folks. My party needs to grow a pair.

Yesterday, during an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation, General Wesley Clark, in response to a question from moderator Bob Schieffer, said:

“Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

That is a true statement and I have said it before right here on this weblog. However, the rabid right wingers saw it as an attack on the frail old man they have chosen begrudgingly accepted as their 2008 presidential nominee. They objected and the Obama campaign immediately capitulated

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, “As he’s said many times before, Sen. Obama honors and respects Senator McCain’s service, and of course he rejects yesterday’s statement by Gen. Clark.”

Sen. Obama rejects yesterday’s statement by Gen. Clark.

Wrong answer!

The correct answer would have been:

General Wesley K. Clark
General Wesley K. Clark

“General Wesley Clark is a retired General of the United States Army. He graduated as valedictorian of his class at West Point, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he obtained a degree in PPE (Philosophy, Politics & Economics), and later graduated from the Command and General Staff College with a master’s degree in military science. He spent 34 years in the Army and the Department of Defense, receiving many military decorations, several honorary knighthoods, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. His latest assignment was as Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000. [source]

We honor the service of General Wesley Clark, value his opinions and are grateful to have his support and his advice in this all-important campaign for the Presidency of the United States of America.

We will put the service of General Wesley Clark up against that of John Sidney McCain III any day of the week. That is a debate we will be glad to have.”

That is what they should have said. Instead, they sent the candidate out to make a speech about how nobody’s patriotism should ever be challenged (Sen. McCain’s patriotism was not challenged; his qualifications for the presidency were) and then they issue a statement in which they “reject yesterday’s statement by Gen. Wesley Clark.”

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me that Barack Obama may have blown it today. He seems to believe that if he plays nice, so will the Republicans. They won’t.

UDPATE: Watch the video

(Could Schieffer possibly be more biased? One could almost believe he works for Fox News rather than CBS.)

Guns for safety?

 Posted by at 16:54  Politics
Jun 282008
 

I took quite a beating in the comments posting in reaction to this post. However, I’m going keep on trucking on. The following op-ed appears in tomorrow’s Washington Post. It was written by Arthur Kellermann, a professor of emergency medicine and public health at Emory University.

Guns for Safety? Dream On, Scalia.

The Supreme Court has spoken: Thanks to the court’s blockbuster 5 to 4 decision Thursday, Washingtonians now have the right to own a gun for self-defense. I leave the law to lawyers, but the public health lesson is crystal clear: The legal ruling that the District’s citizens can keep loaded handguns in their homes doesn’t mean that they should.

In his majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia explicitly endorsed the wisdom of keeping a handgun in the home for self-defense. Such a weapon, he wrote, “is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long rifle; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police.” But Scalia ignored a substantial body of public health research that contradicts his assertions. A number of scientific studies, published in the world’s most rigorous, peer-reviewed journals, show that the risks of keeping a loaded gun in the home strongly outweigh the potential benefits.

In the real world, Scalia’s scenario — an armed assailant breaks into your home, and you shoot or scare away the bad guy with your handy handgun — happens pretty infrequently. Statistically speaking, these rare success stories are dwarfed by tragedies.

Click on the headline to continue reading.

In spite of the arguments to the contrary posted in the comments to my earlier post (most of them quite reasonable and very well worded), I remain vehemently opposed to guns in the home. A firearm in your home does not make you any safer than did Saddam Hussein’s capture and subsequent execution.

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Bring it on.

Jun 272008
 

If it’s Friday it must be time for Friday Night Cartoons. Again. Already. Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? You know the drill. Click on them to make them bigger or to start a slideshow. Also, I have thrown one in from around this time last year. See if you can pick it out.

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cole062508.jpg   darcy062408.jpg   donwright062608.gif

englehart062608.jpg   fairrington062308.jpg   fairrington062408.jpg

gamble062408.jpg   gorrell062608.jpg   harville062308.jpg

harville062508.jpg   harville062708.jpg   heller062608.gif

horsey062408.gif   horsey062908.gif   lane062308.gif

luckovich062508.gif   margulies062408.jpg   morin062708.jpg

ohman062608.jpg   pett062508.jpg   plante062408.jpg

sack062508.jpg   sherffius062508.jpg   sherffius062608.jpg

shipplet062708.jpg   stantis062508.jpg   thompson062308.jpg

thompson062508.jpg   varvel071107.jpg   wuerker062608.jpg

As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.

Saturday afternoon additions:

breen062708.gif   benson062708.gif   britt062708.gif

deering062708.gif   crowson062708.jpg   lowe062808.jpg

Jun 262008
 

We can, you know. The Supremes (Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy) say it’s okay…

Supreme Court says Americans have right to guns

gun.jpg

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense in their homes, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms restrictions intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by “the historical narrative” both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,” Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington’s requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.

Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans’ preferred weapon of self-defense in part because “it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police.”

I love that last line by Scalia. Like Americans had telephones with which to dial the police in 1791. Idiot.

I’m locking my doors, barring my windows and never venturing outdoors again until these idiots are gone from our government. It’s not safe. I don’t wanna get shot!

Damn those activist judges.

Jun 252008
 

I’m not so sure that I’m quite as ready to forgive and forget as Senator Obama appears to be…

Obama shares fundraisers with Clinton

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is sharing one his most valuable assets – his top fundraisers – with former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton to help her pay off her debt, the latest effort to heal the wounds of a bruising primary campaign.

Obama on Tuesday asked his finance team to help Clinton pay back at least $10 million from her failed presidential campaign, setting the stage for joint appearances by the two former rivals later in the week. In a teleconference with his top fundraisers, Obama asked them to do what they could to help Clinton.

“What I said was to my large donors who are in a position to write large checks, to help Senator Clinton retire her debt, or at least a portion of it. And I think they’re going to be those who are willing to do so,” Obama told reporters at a news conference in Chicago.

A large chunk of Obama’s cash has come from small donors, but he said he was not making the same appeal to them.

“I’m not going to be individually contacting $15 donors, because frankly, it probably wouldn’t be that effective in terms of making a big dent in Senator Clinton’s debt,” Obama said.

Obama’s green light to his money bundlers came before he and Clinton were scheduled to meet in Washington on Thursday with some of her top fundraisers in a show of unity after their bruising contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Friday, the two planned to campaign together in New Hampshire.

Obama clinched the nomination earlier this month; Clinton suspended her campaign and endorsed him.

All the talk has been about how we need to treat the Clintonistas with kid gloves so they will come back to the fold. I don’t quite see it that way. They need to do some serious apologizing and ask nicely to be allowed back into the fold. They and their candidate and her family said some pretty nasty things and made lots of not-so-nice accusations during the primaries. I’m not so sure that the Obama folks should be paying off Hillary Clinton’s debts. As John Cole says…

The debt, if you think about it, is from the last few months of the campaign when Clinton went with the kitchen sink strategy. Obama is now subsidizing the “White People Won’t Vote For Him” Appalachian tour, the 3 am ad, and the rest of the bile they chucked his way over the last two months when it was clear Clinton could not win.

I’m not so sure I’m ready to make nice. Yet. Maybe after a few “We’re sorrys,” which I haven’t heard or read. Yet.

A lot of people acted like Republicans (some still are), and for that they need to apologize. I’m still waiting.

I agree with Supremes

 Posted by at 20:00  Politics
Jun 252008
 

Shocker of shockers, for once I agree (kind of) with The Supremes…

Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape

WASHINGTON — The death penalty is unconstitutional as a punishment for the rape of a child, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The 5-to-4 decision overturned death penalty laws in Louisiana and five other states. The only two men in the country who have been sentenced to death for the crime of child rape, both in Louisiana, will receive new sentences of life without parole.

The court went beyond the question in the case to rule out the death penalty for any individual crime — as opposed to “offenses against the state,” such as treason or espionage — “where the victim’s life was not taken.”

I do not agree with the death penalty. My reason for not agreeing with the death penalty is probably different from most people’s. I think it lets the scum off too easy.

A minute or so of pain (maybe… even that is debatable these days) and it’s over. Unless, of course, you believe there is a hell where these people go to burn for all eternity, which I do not.

No, I think people who murder, rape or commit other crimes which destroy the lives and well-being of others should be sentenced to spend the rest of their lives rotting in prison. There should never be any possibility of parole and they should have their crimes tattooed on their foreheads for all to see.

Supremes favor Exxon

 Posted by at 13:36  Politics, Republicans
Jun 252008
 

This sickens me…

Exxon Valdez $2.5 billion oil spill ruling overturned

valdez_duck.jpg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the record $2.5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp had been ordered to pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the nation’s worst tanker spill.

By a 5-3 vote, the high court ruled that the punitive damages award should be slashed — limited by the circumstances of the case to an amount equal to the total relevant compensatory damages of $507.5 million.

The justices overturned a ruling by a U.S. Court of Appeals that had awarded the record punitive damages to about 32,000 commercial fishermen, Alaska natives, property owners and others harmed by the nation’s worst tanker spill.

In the majority opinion, Justice David Souter concluded the $2.5 billion in punitive damages was excessive under federal maritime law, and should be cut to the amount of actual harm.

Soaring oil prices have propelled Exxon Mobil to previously unforeseen levels of profitability in recent years; the company posted earnings of $40.6 billion in 2007.

It took Exxon Mobil just under two days to bring in $2.5 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2007.

The Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in March 1989, spilling about 11 million gallons of crude oil.

The spill spread oil to more than 1,200 miles of coastline, closed fisheries and killed thousands of marine mammals and hundreds of thousands of sea birds.

Damn Republicans.

Jun 242008
 

It was kind of a slow news today, wasn’t it? So much so that most of the major news networks led with this story: “Dobson accuses Obama of ‘distorting’ Bible.”

If anybody is an expert at distorting the Bible for financial and political gain, it is this man:

James Dobson
James Dobson

Though I consider myself a Christian, I am no fan of organized religion. I have seen it destroy too many lives. It should be noted, however, that James Dobson is not a reverend, minister or pastor of any religion. He is a child psychologist. My interpretation of the Bible carries as much weight as his, as does yours, and as does Barack Obama’s.

Senator Obama, for whatever reason, felt the need to respond. “I think you’ll see that he was just making stuff up, maybe for his own purposes.” Amen, brother.

I hope we can make it through this election without too much more of this ridiculousosity. I am not holding out a whole lot of hope, however. (Hey, I made up a word. Like it? I figure if a spoiled, ignorant and illiterate frat boy like George W. Bush can do it, so can I.)