Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To the slaughter

"They are hauled in crowded trailers as far as 1,000 miles from auctions and feedlots to abattoirs across the border. Many end up in unregulated slaughterhouses, where they are sometimes paralyzed with knife stabs in their backs, leaving them conscious as their throats are slit."

They are horses, and upwards of 72,000 were slaughtered in Canada and Mexico last year. Many of those came from the U. S. Washed-up racehorses, unwanted foals, horses and ponies whose owners can no longer afford to keep them - sold for a few hundred dollars or less, to be shipped across the border and slaughtered in "unspeakable" conditions.

Coleman concedes!

Welcome, Senator-elect Al Franken.

Note to Harry Reid: you've got 60 votes now. Get off your butt.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I reckon not

Texas governor Rick Perry recently told the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce that Texans will keep driving pickup trucks no matter how high the cost of gasoline goes, because "You can't put a bale of hay in the back of a Prius. It don't work."

Over at CleanMPG.com, Austin American-Statesman columnist John Kelso relates how he decided to test Perry's statement. Turns out you can't fit a bale of hay in the back of a Prius: you can fit five.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


A network is given "unprecedented" access to the White House. Is this a good or bad thing?

I guess the answer depends on which network it is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Quote of the week

Andy Ostroy, writing about the "Freedom Cruise" co-sponsored by Ollie North's Freedom Alliance and the National Rifle Association:
So who exactly is the Freedom Alliance? On its website, it states that its mission "is to advance the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States and promoting a strong national defense." As for the NRA, well, that's just an organization of he-man wannabes with small dicks who like to shoot shit up.
Who says liberals have no sense of humor?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yet anther domestic terrorist attack

The head of a so-called "minuteman" vigilante group is among three suspects arrested for the May 30 murder of a man and his eight-year-old daughter when the suspects allegedly invaded their home in Arizona.

Yet another case where right-wing activists are obviously engaging in terrorism by any definition of the word.

Yet another case where the terrorists are not charged as terrorists. It seems that distinction is reserved for those who protest at political conventions.

Yet another case where talking heads in the media (are you listening, Lou Dobbs? Sean Hannity? Rush Limbaugh? Genn Beck? Beuhler?) incite the wingnuts to commit violence and go scot-free.

I fear for my country's future.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

And this is surprising because...?

You mean he's not the Messiah? O Noes!
"The Obama administration is not going to represent an abrupt departure from Bush-era [secretive government] policy," Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, told TPMmuckraker. "If we thought they were, we were mistaken."

He added that it's no longer realistic to think that Obama's administration will take a strong stand in favor of openness on national security issues. "We have to recalibrate our expectations."

Recalibrate our expectations? Only if we had unreasonable expectations to begin with. What we have to do is redouble our efforts. Reform does not come from the top - it bubbles up from below. FDR asked the people to make him do the right thing, and eventually he did it; in the same vein, we have to keep the pressure on Obama and make him be the president we hoped he could be.

I don't know what Aftergood's expectations were. My expectation, campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, was not that Obama would step in and fix everything. My hope was that with Obama in office, we had at least some chance to have our voices heard. But voices can't be heard if they're silent. We have to write Obama. We have to write our legislators. We must demand open government as policy and as law. Then we should write them again on health care reform, and then on corporate influence in government. We have to write them letters and call their offices and demand they do the right thing on every issue. Then we have to tell our friends what we've done and encourage them to speak up too.

I haven't been doing nearly enough along those lines, but I plan - no, I pledge - to start today.

Friday, June 5, 2009

You Bet Your Health!

Here is a pretty good model of how for-profit health insurance works. Pretend it's a game show and see if you can win.