Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Shocking! Tulsa World Endorses Mitt Romney

November 6, 2012

Try to contain your surprise.

The only surprising thing about it is how late it came – just two days before election day.  Two of Oklahoma’s three days of early voting had already passed when this editorial hit the streets and internets.

Read the editorial here.

The 2012 Tulsa World is a generally centrist newspaper with a sorry history of right-wing extremism as recently as the 1970s.  The newer generations of ownership seem to be more flexible and  even somewhat progressive occasionally in their political leanings.  Nevertheless, it’s a fact that the newspaper has endorsed every Republican presidential candidate since at least 1940.  (Rumor has it that they actually supported FDR back during the Great Depression – for a while.)

This means that the World has endorsed such outstanding past candidates as Wendell Willkie (1940), Thomas Dewey (twice – 1944 and 1948), Richard Nixon (THREE times – 1960, 1968 and 1972), John McCain in 2008, and of course George W. Bush – twice!

The reasons given for their 2012 endorsement are really thin stuff – arguing for “change”:

“(Change) starts with a Congress whose composition is unlikely to change much with Tuesday’s vote. It is far-fetched to believe Obama would achieve a different result in a second term. Romney, by both party affiliation and personal style, has the better chance of becoming the master mechanic who unlocks Congress’ gears, convincing lawmakers that the status quo is unsustainable. Romney is a businessman and he will get down to the business of reversing a $16 trillion debt, falling family incomes, lingering high unemployment, a 15 percent national poverty rate.”

Really?  Because of Romney’s “party affiliation” and “personal style”?   (I didn’t know Romney had  “personal style.”)

In effect, the World is arguing that extremist Congressional Republicans have demonstrated their determination to oppose whatever President Obama favors, even if it was their own idea.  Therefore we have no choice but to cave in to their demands for lower taxes on the rich (never mind the deficit), the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, draconian spending cuts to programs that help ordinary people, and a further bloating of the defense budget.  And who-knows-what culture-war horrors they would inflict?

In other words – Congressional Republicans are holding the country hostage with their obstruction of everything, and we have no choice but to give in to their demands lest they carry out their threats – like driving the nation off the “fiscal cliff” on January 1, and refusing (again) to raise the completely arbitrary debt ceiling to allow us to pay obligations for which Congress has already made appropriations.

Meanwhile, Romney has offered no road map as to how he would start reversing the debt.  He has endorsed the Ryan budget which would actually INCREASE the debt.  Romney has offered no plan to stop middle-class incomes from declining, nor to reduce poverty.  All he has offered is still another tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.  Everyone else will just need to wait for the trickle-down to trickle down.  That will happen when pigs fly.

Maybe the World will entertain the thought of a Democratic president when the current newspaper management inherits the stock from the retired dinosaurs who still control it.  In the meantime, I don’t know whether to attribute this year’s very late (November 4) endorsement to blind partisanship, or to pandering towards Oklahoma’s deeply red electorate.

Will all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties vote for a Republican president again in 2012, as they did in 2008?  We’ll know tomorrow.


What would George Carlin think about 2012 college football?

September 8, 2012

I sure he would note that the Big Ten Conference has twelve teams – but the Big Twelve Conference has only ten teams.




What Todd Akin Really Meant

August 25, 2012

What did Congressman Todd Akin mean when he made this famous comment on a St. Louis TV station?

“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Akin is an educated man with an engineering degree.  Clearly, expertise in engineering can coexist with stunning, breathtaking ignorance of human reproductive biology.  But let’s set that aside and try to get at what Akin was REALLY trying to say.

“Pro-life” absolutists like Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and most Catholic bishops would make abortion (or ANY destruction of ANY human zygote) illegal in ALL cases.   For example, in 2009 the Catholic Church excommunicated the entire Brazilian medical team that performed an abortion on a nine-year-old girl who was impregnated with twins by her stepfather.  The girl’s mother was also excommunicated.  The stepfather was NOT excommunicated.

Clearly, pregnancies resulting from rape (“forceable” and otherwise) present a difficult challenge to the “pro-life” movement.   On the one hand, it seems cruel to many of us to force a woman to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby.  For some members of my family, that cruelty is compounded when the rapist is a member of another race.  The horror!  A white girl carrying a black baby against her will!

On the other hand, if we were to allow abortions in the case of rape, it calls into question the absolutist dogma that “abortion is murder.” Then the entire logical foundation of the “pro-life” argument crumbles. If every fertilized egg is a “person” deserving the full protection of the law from the moment of its conception, by what logic can we justify termination of a pregnancy originating in rape?  Answer:  there is none.

The answer to this conundrum is for “pro-life” forces to deny the existence of pregnancy through rape!

This is what Akin was getting at in his poorly-worded statement.  Much discussion has occured about his identification of “legitimate rape,” as opposed to… what?  Illegimate rape?  Forceable rape as opposed to consensual rape?

“I talk about one word, one sentence, one day out of place, and, all of a sudden, the entire establishment turns on you.” – Todd Akin

It seems to me that most of the commentary has gone the wrong way on Akin’s use of the word “legitimate.”  As even Paul Ryan has explained, “Rape is rape.”  There is no distinction to be made with “illegitimate” rape.  Clearly, what Akin was saying is that women seeking abortion are often liars who only CLAIM that they were raped.  Where is the police report?  Where are the bruises?  Didn’t she fight back?

Can you see how nicely this solves the pro-life “rape problem”?  In the case of “legitimate” (truthful) rape, God’s Little Condom protects the woman from pregnancy. So, a pregnant woman MUST be lying if she says she was raped.  Therefore there is no need for a rape exception to bans on abortion.  Pregnancy proves the untruthfulness of claims of rape.  REAL raped women don’t get pregnant at all!  Ergo, no rape exception for abortion.

Don’t we already know that women seeking abortions are lying sluts?

It’s almost as convenient as back in the old witch-hunting days.  Real witches float, so we can test whether or not a woman is a witch by throwing her in the water.  If she sinks, then she wasn’t a witch.  Too bad that she drowned during the test.  If she floats, we can still burn her at the stake!

I won’t even get into abortion exceptions for incest.  What is the logic?  Aren’t most incestuous pregnancies the result of statutory rape?  What degree of consanguinuity constitutes incest?  Consensual sex between brother and sister?  What about cousins?  And what’s the harm?

Maybe this is a topic for another day.


Criminal intent

May 20, 2012

I was, and I remain, a big fan of the major theme of John Edwards’ presidential campaigns.  I agree completely with Brent Budowski’s recent blog post at referring to Edwards’ observation of “Two Americas” being “brilliantly right” – today more than ever.  It’s also impossible to deny Budowski’s observation that events have proved Edwards to be “morally revolting.”

I have my own different reason for agreeing with Budowski’s observation that Edwards is “legally innocent.”  Here is an excerpt from the trial judge’s instructions to the Edwards jury:

  • The government does not have to prove that the sole or only purpose of the money was to influence the election. People rarely act with a single purpose in mind. On the other hand, if the donor would have made the gift or payment notwithstanding the election, it does not become a contribution merely because the gift or payment might have some impact on the election. Nor does it become a contribution just because the donor knew it might have some influence on the election and found that acceptable, if the donor’s real purpose was personal or otherwise unrelated to the election. In other words, the government has to prove that Ms. Mellon had a real purpose or an intended purpose to influence an election. in making the gift or payment. If her real purpose was personal or otherwise not for the purpose of influencing the election, or if you cannot say what the purpose was beyond a reasonable doubt, then that would not be sufficient to satisfy this element. If you find beyond a reasonable doubt that one of her purposes was to influence an election, then that would be sufficient.

So – the government’s case hinges on intent.  Not the intent of the accused, John Edwards.  No, the government’s case hinges on the intent of Mrs. Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the 101-year-old heir to part of the Mellon banking fortune.  Mrs. Mellon was not called to testify at the trial but Alexander Forger, her lawyer (and what a name for a lawyer!), gave testimony (hearsay?) that Mrs. Mellon did NOT intend campaign contributions:

  • “She liked him as an individual, as a person. It wasn’t because he was running for president,If he wanted to be president of Duke University, she would have supported that….”
  • “Is there any doubt in your conversation with her that you said this could not be a campaign contribution?” defense lawyer Abbe Lowell asked. “No doubt,” Forger replied.  “Is there any doubt she said it was not a campaign contribution?” Lowell asked. “No doubt,” Forger again replied.

How could any sane jury find Edwards guilty of these charges? How could the jury divine beyond a reasonable doubt the intent of someone who was not called to testify?

And how could any sane prosecutor bring charges against someone based on the presumed intent of a 101-year-old woman – not the intent of the defendant?


An Open Letter to Ann Romney

April 17, 2012

Image I found this item while noodling around on Reddit, posted by someone calling herself “roooth.”

Since it’s an open letter, I trust and hope that she won’t mind if I repost it here in its entirety.



Dear Mrs. Romney,

Perhaps you can advise me. Since you have raised 5 boys, I’m sure you’ll understand. One of the kids is sick again and I have no sick days left at work. In fact, my boss gave me a bad performance review and no raise this year because he said I obviously don’t care that much about my job since I’ve missed so many days and if I miss anymore he may have to replace me. Whenever my child gets sick, my boss reminds me how easily I can be replaced.

We don’t have health insurance at my job, so, if my boy gets worse, I’ll probably be at the ER most of the night tonight. Not for the first time, but that’s ok, he’ll get care. It’s tomorrow I’m worried about.

As you know, regular day care will not take a sick child, so if I want to work when my child is sick, I have to pay for sick child day care, which costs as much as I make, and, as I’m sure you know from personal experience, I still have to pay my regular day care, whether my child is there or out sick, so I actually lose money in order to work while he’s sick. It’s that or take a chance on losing my job entirely.

Should I take my child to the day care for sick kids and lose money and not have enough for my bills this month, so I can keep my job, or should I stay home with my sick child and hope that I don’t get fired?

What did you do when this happened to you?

Sincerely, Just Another Mom



The NRA Poster You Will Never See

April 17, 2012


My good friend Rutherford Lawson posted this photo and an accompanying blog post at his excellent blog.  But I thought the picture did most of the talking for itself.

Check out Rutherford’s blog – he’s very insightful.  But beware – his regular commenters can be a bit hostile.


Antonin Scalia’s Broccoli Fixation

March 31, 2012


Let’s expand a bit on what Justice Antonin Scalia was talking about when he compared the health care insurance mandate to a government requirement to purchase broccoli.  The undeniably brilliant (if extremely ideology-driven) Justice makes a great point!

Everyone will eat broccoli eventually. Sooner or later, as sure as the sun rises, you will NEED to eat broccoli. Perhaps DESPERATELY need to eat broccoli. Broccoli might even be necessary to save your life at some point.

So how come so many people simply refuse to pay for broccoli – then expect to get all the very best broccoli that they need, promptly and for free, at the emergency door of their local food store? Because we let them get away with it – that’s why!

The food store is required by law to provide top-quality broccoli to every person in need of it – whether he can pay for expensive broccoli or not. Who pays for all this free broccoli? The rest of us – that’s who! You and me.

There’s a name for people who won’t pay for their own broccoli – freeloaders!

Unless we’re willing to let those freeloaders die in the street from broccoli deficiency syndrome, the government should make them prepay for their own eventual consumption of broccoli. But we aren’t willing to do that. Nor should we.

How can the government require us to prepay for broccoli Constitutionally? Since the broccoli market has a HUGE impact on interstate commerce, Congress may require everyone to pay his share for it.

Never doubt the ability of the brilliant Justice Scalia to select the very best Republican talking point when hearing a Supreme Court case.  Is broccoli an apt analogy for the health care mandate, or what?

Now shut up and eat your broccoli.