Saturday, November 29, 2008


For whatever reason the graphic is cut off on the right. Clicking on the graphic will take you to the full picture though. I blame the HTML.

A Little Graph Humor

song chart memes
more music charts

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On why Lieberman still has limited uses

A lot of liberal bloggers (myself included) are still mad that Lieberman was punished for his actions during the campaign. By all rights he should have been stripped of his committee chair on the Homeland Security Committee (he's been abysmal in oversight) and possibly tossed out of the Democratic causus.

So why wasn't he? Why did president Obama give the word that he didn't want Lieberman removed (while still fobbing off Lieberman to Biden when he did call)

Two words: Legislative priorities.

It looks like Obama's first priority is to overhaul health care. His selection of Tom Daschele for Health and Human Services shows he is serious about dealing with the problem. The issue for Obama is that he will need every vote he can scrape together to get legislation passed, and that includes Lieberman. I don't think a lot of senate republcans will flip on the issues. They are pretty lock step in calling any kind of fair health policy 'socialized medicine' and they will not see reason on this issue.

Now Lieberman gets a lot of money from the insurance industry, and had he been kicked off his committee posts, he wouldn't hesitate to side with them and oppose any kind of reform. But he DID get to keep his committee posts, and keeping them depends on having the good will of the president and Senate Democrats. I don't think he'd hesitate to sell out the insurance companies to hold on to his committee chair.

Now what about the war? For me and many liberal bloggers, this ought to be the first priority. So why isn't it? again priorities. I believe President Obama wants both Health Care reform AND and end to the war, and the only way to get both, is to do health care first.

Liberman won't flip on the war, he'll sell out a lot of things, but I don't think he'd sell out (what he thinks) is in Israel's best security interests. I happen to think Israel would be a lot more secure with a more diplomatic approach to 'The War On Terror', but Lieberman is convinced a military solution is the only one. And he won't vote to withdraw troops, and if we tackled the war first, he won't vote for anything else on the Obama agenda. ON the other hand I think a lot more Republican senators will flip on the war then on health care. Fiscal Conservatives see the war a big waste of money (as they also see health care reform) and would vote to end it, and in that case Lieberman's oppostition will be neutralized.

So as I posted earlier, Lieberman is being used for the greater good. We will get better health care options, AND we get to end the war.

I do allow the chance that I may be wrong. And if, in six months time there is no signficant movement to reform health care, and no significant move to end the Iraqi occupation, I'll eat my words on this blog. But give me six months.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

20 Degrees with the Wind Chill

Ok, today it was too cold to go for one of my marathon bike rides. Getting late in the season. I can mabye do the bike and bus thing for a few more days, but proabably not after thanksgiving.

Unfortunately the bike is indespensible to me using the bus to get to work. The ZOOM bus's closest stop in Portland to my house is about 2.5 miles away, and the closest the bus comes to my office is still about 2.9 miles. There are a couple of Metro Lines I could take to get to a ZOOM bus stop, the problem is how to get down town.

The cities of Biddeford and Saco run a bus line but the schedule doesn't coincide with my work schedule. The system is more geared for people living in Biddeford to work in Portland then for people living in Portland to work in Biddeford.

Amtrak's Downeaster is another possability, it gets to Saco at about 8:22, and is only a short walk to my office, the drawback here being that it does not head north to home in Portland in any reasonable time. Also, getting to the station via public transportation involves at least one transfer, and would require an hour of travel and transfer just to get to the station.

The point of this is that it as it stands now, the region's public transit system works for me as long as I can use my bike to augment it's shortcomeings. It would only take a few modest schedule changes, for me to be able to use it year round without a car or bike (don't get me wrong I love useing the bike, but I need a back up for bad weather). Now these changes to be practical, can't be just for MY convenience but for everyone's convenience. There also has to be the will out there by commuters to be open to trying alternative transportation. Convenient scheudling and frequent service are the two keys to making public transportation more viable for larger groups of people. And as gas becomes scarcer, as our climate becomes more unstable, we are going to need to use these alternatives, to insure our own futures on the planet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some thought on the GM crisis

Forget bailing out the auto industry. Nationalize it. Yank the companies away from the incompetent boobs who created this crisis. The last thing we need is taxpayer funds paying their golden parachutes.

Take over the companies and retool them to build hybrids, electric cars, you know the cars real Americans want to buy, but havn't been able to get American Made because the dumb jerks running the Big Three have resisted every attempt to madate better gas milage, and instead they keep hunkering down and building more SUV's that nobody wants.

Also put the plants to work buidling heavy equipment that we're going to need to fix the infrastructure of this country, and building public transit vehicles like buses, light rail and subway trains.

And then with the companies back in the black, the US govt. can get out of the auto business, and sell off the companies to responsible investors, and let the market decide once again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tax Benefits of Biking

Ok so it's the third week of November, and I am still using my bike to ride to work. At lunch I did my 'Three Cities Tour' through Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard which goes for a total of 13.9 miles according to my odometer.

Next year, there sill be an added incentive for biking to work. Congress has inserted a provision into the massive bailout plan allowing bicycle commuters to deduct up to $20 for each month that they commute starting in 2009. This year I started biking in mid April, and have continued through to Mid November, and possibly longer. That makes 7 months of comuting, so if I continue to take my bike to work I could write off $140. Small potatoes perhaps, but any bit will do.

Now will I be able to write off my breakfast and lunch as fuel expenses?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rahm Facts

My god this is Very, very funny.

A followup on the Lieberman Saga

I guess Obama is not being as concilatory as had initially been reported. Today he passed off a call from Holy Joe to VP Biden. Also it should be noted that Senator Patrick Leahy has also added a prominent voice to the 'dump Lieberman' movement.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wither Joe Lieberman?

Well dammit, I was working on a lengthy article about why, much as I loathe him, Lieberman might still have a place at the Democratic table, but The Rude Pundit pretty sumaarized my feeling in his indomitable, rude way. (Warning, raw language)

I can add, that this is probably pretty much what is going through Obama's mind as well which is why he's urging senators to keep Lieberman on as the Chair of the committee on Homeland Security, despite his failure to use it to exercise any kind of oversight against the Bush Administration, especially in the wake of the massive failures to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Obama knows there's still a chance to hit 60 senators. Alaska is going the Democrats way, and Minnesota is still too close to call. Georgia can go either way, depending on turnout, and we won't know how that falls until December.

Obama knows Lieberman pretty well. He was assigned Lieberman as a mentor when he entered the senate in 2005. Lieberman pretty much got on his hands and knees and begged Obama to campaing for him in 2006 during the primary, which Obama did, though he stopped after Lieberman lost the primary, and endorsed Ned Lamont. Lieberman has probably conveniently forgotten that favor Obama did for him, and only remembers that Obama failed to help him in the general election.

Obama hasn't forgotten, and moreover he has Lieberman's number. Political Junkies like me will remember this story from earlier this year. Obama basically backed Holy Joe into a corner, and quietly, but forcefully told him to cut the crap. And Joe folded, taking his revenge later in the year by campaigning for McCain. Obama knew that wouldn't help McCain any, and only tarnished Joe's battered image even more.

Though Lieberman may think he has the ace if he's Number 60, he's wrong. It's the other way around. He only gets to hold onto his committee chair, AS LONG AS HE STAYS MR. 60. The minute he breaks with the party, that Chairmanship is gone, and so is all his relevance. Obama knows this. I've been studying Obama's style for a year now, ever since I heard him speak in person last September. He uses politics like judo, turning his enemy's strengths against them. Lieberman thinks that as 60, he has the advantage. He does not, and if he steps out of line, he'll see that he was the one being used.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Baking Season

As the temperature drops, baking becomes not only easier to do, but a highly desirable way to keep warm. In this last year I've acquired some heavy duty baking equpment including an industrial mixer that promises to churn out batches of cookies like nobodies business.

Since I've joined the buying club, I can feel good that the ingredients I buy are for the most part, organic, localy grown where possible, and where not possible, at least part of a fair trade agreement.

The food we eat can be very political. I learned from this documentary and this this book just how extensively our food is subidized by the governement. If we didn't, farmers couldn't afford fuel and fertilizer to grow their crops. This was a deliberate policy by the Federal Government in the early 1970's to keep the price of food low. Unfortunately this cheap food is largely in the form of corn and corn by-products such as corn syrup. Cheap and abundent, yes, nutritious, no, and it is the direct reason that this country has an obesity problem.

I try to do most of my own cooking and baking now. It's a great hobby, and one gains an appreciation of the effort it takes to churn out a loaf of bread, make a pie, or to cook a healthy meal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Power of the Blogs

Sarah Palin gets on the Blog Bashing Bus, but Jane Hamsher at firedoglake puts the slam down on the 'Disasta from Alasaka'.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Musings on the Monday after the election.

The giddiness has not warn off yet. I sincerely regret getting the official word on Obama's victory from 'The Daily Show' at home. Much as I love Jon and Stephen, I wish I had been in teh squares of a major city like New York, or even better been in the crowd in D.C. that surrounded the White House and changed 'Yes We Can!'.

What wonderful, positive energy that surrounded the Obama Victory, not just in the US, but around the world. I remain confident that a President Obama will no squander this energy, but should be able to ride in in his first 100 days to getting some real accomblishments done. What amazes me about his campaign is that he reminds us that we made his victory possible, and that we do have a responsibility to see to it that he and Congress serve are OUR pleasure, and that only good governance, not political stunts and tricks will keep the Democrats in the majority.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

All hail the new voice of the people!


It is my sincere hope that this blog allows me to test the function of the posting, and still allow me to delete it later.

It is also a sincere hope that I haven't misspelled "sincere."