Benny's World

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Obama Could Almost Win with These Special Campaigners

Last night was the best night in comedy. It was akin to a grand slam in a baseball game. The RNC Convention gave much fodder and then some more to the writers of the sharpest deliverers of irony. No, it wasn't drip drip last night, it was like a transfusion of wit. There is so much to post...and so little space.

I'm posting the opening segment and New Rules segments of Bill Maher's show last night. He was the 4th batter with the others on base: Michael Moore, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert. Later, I will look for Stephen Colbert's and post it as well. I'm not certain the segment with David Patterson will be up as that was the funniest one last evening. I've already posted Jon Stewart, and will update the Michael Moore post with videos later.

Be prepared to have a lot of new laugh lines around your mouth.

Bill Maher is Putting Country First.

Well, I'm not so certain Obama could win with these great comedians, but they are the only ones who can punch at the eerieness of a McSame/Palin values ticket.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Jon Stewart on a Roll

Update: this classic from Friday night:

Jon Stewart is the free market's choice at giving the GOP the Harry Truman treatment. Humor is great as it speaks the truth.

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Joey Rips on Elite Republican Party's Deafening Silence

Great line: what do you talk about when you cannot explain the last eight years of failure? What do you talk about? You talk about the other guy.

Yeah, I know exactly what Joe Biden speaks of. Bullies-- or -- elitists who snarked at your best school clothes.

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Michael Moore is a Hoot-tooting Democrat

Larry King is interviewing Michael Moore at the Timber Lanes Bowling Alley in Traverse City, MI. A bunch of UAW workers are wearing T-shirts that say "Bowlers for Obama" and are bowling their frames behind him.

Good line about polls about some folks who said they wouldn't vote for Obama because he's African-American. Michael Moore: Who are these Americans? Are they Christians? Which century was this poll taken in?

Classic Michael Moore on teaching Republicans who the real populists are.

For clips of the interview, go to the DU.

More l8tr...

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McCain: Running in the Past

With interest, which diminished as the evening dragged on, I watched John McCain give the "speech of his life" last night. If the "speech of his life" meant that he recalled the bitterness of losing the Vietnam war and not coming back with honor (today it would be considered honor), then it meant that John McCain didn't speak for me. It meant that he was determined to use any means necessary to go into war with anyone who trashed the "USA" (something the brownshirts in the audience reminded the viewers, in case they forgot where we lived). McCain is running in the past.

Nate Silver
at 5:38 says that the crowd gave McCain most of their attention when he focused on the three P's: Palin, Petroleum, and POW. Well, that's what they wanted to hear. But what about the middle class viewer like me?

McCain opens the cracks the window with this comment:
These are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. And that’s just what I intend to do: stand on your side and fight for your future.

OK, you mentioned he is concerned...a little. Yeah, like a little troll, as he concerned for this couple in Michigan:

I fight for Americans. I fight for you. I fight for Bill and Sue Nebe from Farmington Hills, Michigan, who lost their real estate investments in the bad housing market. Bill got a temporary job after he was out of work for seven months. Sue works three jobs to help pay the bills.

He says he will fight for us and is on our side. I couldn't locate what he would do as he blathered on for the next 30 minutes...And on, and on, and on....

In the late second quarter of the first half, he says without much appetite--meaning in 425 words--what he would do. Let's look at the only parts of what the Republicans would deem as substance of what to do for the middle class:

My tax cuts will create jobs. His [Obama] tax increases will eliminate them.

Tax cuts for whom?

Look at the Tax Policy Center's figures (as of June 2008, and reported on CNN's Money section of their website)--

McCain feed the portly wallets plan is an additional 10%, whereas at the bottom, it is less than 1%I purposely used a more conservative analysis to prove my point about the deficit: McCain's is around 4.5 Trillion that would be added; Obama's around 3.3 Trillion. One of McCain's surrogates promised a balanced budget by 2013.

Takeaway: 60 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut three times as big from Obama as from McCain. That’s real money in the pockets of hardworking families.

Next "bone" he threw to us:
My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance.

Let me get this straight. McCain has a healthcare plan in which there is $2500 tax credit for health insurance and $5000 for families, indexed for inflation--estimated at 2%, but not to actual premium projections. Average cost is already at 12,000 dollars. Aon Consulting estimates that the costs will jump 10.6% by 2010.Think Progress brings out this salient point:

As a result, McCain’s credit becomes a tax increase. For a couple earning $40,000 and paying $13,800 for insurance, “McCain’s new tax credit would cut their taxes by $50 in 2009, but because the credit quickly falls behind rising premiums that are the basis of the current tax break, the family would pay $1,169 more in taxes in 2013…[and] would pay $2,809 more in taxes by 2018.”

I saved this part of the second paragraph about health insurance on purpose:

His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.

Well well. To paraphrase Michael Moore from LKL this evening, this is hostility towards the government. We the people formed this government. Aren't we the government? Therefore, McCain is attacking people for giving him health care that many of us want and only he gets? Put it another way: Is McCain telling us even though he knows what it is like to get health care in another country (meaning Vietnam and he was a POW, McSame's refrain when he refuses to speak on issues), that the health care he receives now is inferior? He's on a government run health care system (or at least insurance plan) and does it mean a bureaucrat stands between him and his doctor? I got a worse problem: I have health insurance, and I have a for-profit bureaucrat that stands between me and my doctor over prescriptions or finds ways not to cover extras that have to do with pre-existing conditions since their overhead is 30% compared to 2% for the government. I have insurance companies fighting who pays for someone who ran into the back of my car with me in it and caused a relapse of a whiplash as it is.

That aside, McPain's tax credits wouldn't even scratch the surface for my regular check-ups. As Elizabeth Edwards points out rightly, even McCain's plan would exclude him from his own plan (but then he wouldn't try to cover himself under his own plan either.

Takeway: Even though he has it, McCain doesn't want to give working families government insurance that is much cheaper than what most of us pay. Obama's plan would cover those with government-sponsored insurance who needed it.

The next bag of wings and chicken legs:

Keeping taxes low helps small businesses grow and create new jobs. Cutting the second highest business tax rate in the world will help American companies compete and keep jobs from moving overseas. Doubling the child tax exemption from $3500 to $7000 will improve the lives of millions of American families. Reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs will let you keep more of your own money to save, spend and invest as you see fit. Opening new markets and preparing workers to compete in the world economy is essential to our future prosperity.

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy and it often seems your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch. My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back, find a new one that won’t go away.

We will prepare them for the jobs of today. We will use our community colleges to help train people for new opportunities in their communities. For workers in industries that have been hard hit, we'll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage.

We've had tax cuts for years, and today it was reported that unemployment has jumped from 9.0% to 10.7% this year. (Bruce McF has the details at EENR of what this means) Senator McCain is confusing me or himself. Presuming it is not the latter, and using Bill and Sue Nebe as an example, McCain is essentially offering them job training for the real estate investments in the housing market, even though Sue is already working 3 jobs. I don't know what Sue is doing, but I bet she doesn't have health care. If she is working three jobs, when would she have time to go to school and retrain? Bill is working a temporary job--not certain what he's doing either, but for some reason, John McCain is fighting for them.

Now, let's look at real situation. Gloria Craven appeared last week at the DNC Convention in Denver. Joe and Gloria Craven lost their jobs at a textile plant in North Carolina. He had put in nearly 30 years, and had many months of vacation pay coming to them when they got laid off and the company has fought the unions' claims off in court. Joe had health problems and can't work much and his health bills have eaten up most of what savings they have. Gloria has gone back to school, but wonders if she can finish school. They were good Republicans until 2006.

I'm dubious as to where McCain's plan would fit in. I got the impression McCain's plan would replace unemployment insurance as unemployment insurance would pay more. Then there is COBRA. I didn't see that John McCain's plan would pick up the differential cost between COBRA payments and what they were paying for health insurance.

Takeaway: John McCain wants everyone to work at Wal-Mart without health and no unemployment insurance. Obama would also have re-training, but he would also favor employee free choice act, whereby corporations would dispense with secret ballots in voting for organizing employees. Obama would also employ someone who has experience in working with unions, not against them, as head of the the Labor Relations Board.

Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them. Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have that choice and their children will have that opportunity.

The two paragraphs contradict one another. I hope that gets explained sometime, but I suspect it means that parents may use taxpayer dollars to send their kids to church schools. Church schools are good in many instances, but does that mean I can opt out of the tax system to pay for kids (which I don't have) to attend church schools if I don't agree with that policy? Public education is supposed to be a public good, I thought. Does that also mean that we don't need school libraries either?

Takeaway: John McCain doesn't believe in the separation of church and state, and puts corporate profits in accessing taxpayer dollars for a major public good--education for everyone.

And that my friends (to use a favorite phrase of the Rethugs), is all he had to offer the middle class.

I did like the last part of his speech (even though the word fight is mentioned 42 times in 51 minutes):

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit.

I do believe in justice and opportunity for all. That's why I voted for John Edwards.

I do think we need to defend ourselves (especially at home and not having troops fighting in a place where we aren't needed anymore).

And yes, I've been standing up for 4 years against Bush and his ilk. And I will keep fighting to get my country back on the right road.

But the most telling part and the theme of John McCain running in the past:
We never hide from history. We make history.

Seems appropriate to end with Genesis' "Land of Confusion"--which came out in 1986, but timeless.

No my friends--he and his ilk live in the past of Ronald Reagan. Nothing about issues. Lakoff is right.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sarah Palin Doesn't Believe in Freedom To Read

There are many reasons to vote for Obama/Biden. If there are any BW readers who thought about voting a third party (as I did at one time), here's a good reason to vote for the Dem ticket.

From Time:

At some point in those fractious first days, Palin told the department heads they needed her permission to talk to reporters. "She put a gag order on those people, something that you'd expect to find in the big city, not here," says Naegele. "She flew in there like a big-city gal, which she's not. It was a strange time, and [the [ITALIC "Frontiersman"]] came out very harshly against her."

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

Scary thought.

Update: not only did she support banning books, she slashed library building improvements for Ester County Public Library system.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Joe Biden Knows How to Stealth Bomb Karl Rove

From the Wall Street Journal online today:

Biden, Called a ‘Dufus,’ Turns Other Cheek

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden proved he can walk away to fight another day.

Talking with reporters aboard his campaign plane Monday evening, Biden was told that Republican strategist Karl Rove, while at the GOP convention earlier in the day, publicly characterized him as a “big, blowhard dufus.”

Biden reacted with visible surprise. The Delaware senator, well known for relishing a good bare-knuckled political brawl, smiled and called Rove “a great American.” Then he turned and walked away.

Biden also is known to chatter, and moments later took more questions at the other end of the cabin. Asked again about Rove’s remarks, he said, “I learned a long time ago, you can call me anything you want.”

Sometimes being a stealth attack dog is better than being an ugly one. Karl, you just got "Cheney'd..politely."

(h/t to Donkeykick at Brand X)

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JedReport: Getting to Know Sarah Palin

McCain hasn't changed since he stepped out on his first wife. Tsk, Tsk.

And now he has chosen someone who likes to shoot Bambi's mother before going to school. My, My, My.

See Desmoinesdem's excellent diary at Bleedingheartland about how evangelicals aren't too thrilled with Sarah Palin accepting the opportunity to be on the McCain "Straight-look Express."

And about Sarah Palin's views on abortion, even in the life of her daughter.

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Bill Maher on the Vetting of Sarah Palin for VP

Classic Maher!

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Dear President Truman

Over the weekend, my spouse and I were in Kansas City to visit family, but also to do some sight-seeing, and to attend the American Idols concert.

On Saturday morning, we went to the Harry S. Truman museum. What a treasure! We watched a 45 minute film narrated by David McCollough that was based on his biography, Truman, then went to the exhibits. My spouse spent most of the time on the lower level looking at personal artifacts of his and his family's personal belongings. I spent more time looking at the presidential years on the upper level. The details, including recordings, were amazing, and in particular, I appreciated a dichotomy of views about his decisions, such as whether Israel should be have recognized and the controversy behind it, Korean Conflict, reliving General McArthur from command of the East Asia forces, and also approving the development of a H-bomb that created an arms race.

I also learned that most of his second term agenda, the Fair Deal, hardly passed. Legislation proposed but didn't make it at the time: national health insurance, public housing, and federal aid for education.

Among the interactive exhibits was this one, in which one could write a note to President Truman about an issue one cares about one way or another. Here's what I would write on this note--since there wasn't much space provided.

September 1, 2008

Dear President Harry S. Truman,

National Health Care is very important to me. We need more than just national health insurance, although certainly that is a decent start. Many in our country depend on the government providing children's insurance to help take care of their kids, but yet the parents have to do without. Many cannot change jobs in fear of losing what health care they have or because of draconian pre-existing condition clauses. The American people are worth the investment of having health care, and I want Congress to do something about it. I want President Obama to make it so. It's time.

Sincerely, Benny

CEO's of companies were very against National Insurance back then, as they displayed letters of disapproval, because they would be levied a tax based on the average salary of American workers. It was clear they didn't want to pay it.

And they still don't today.

Candidate McCain is totally against government supplied health care, even though he has it. His health insurance plan would even exclude him as he has pre-existing conditions.

What would you write to President Truman?

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hello David Cook--Yes It Was You We Looked For In MCI

Opening song from a "Cookie" at last night's concert--the same one I attended at the Sprint Center in DC's home town. I hope to have some pics up soon. More about the AI tour show later. It was the fab 10, but confess Michael Johns, Carly Smithson, and DC were my favorites.

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