Selling a house and/or selling a national budget

I’ve been looking over President Obama’s budget, and am still surprised at how progressive it is. There is a lot more requested there than I would’ve imagined he would ask for. And that made me stop for a second and consider why he asked for such a huge budget.

And then I remembered how we listed our price when we sold our house. We figured out how much we really wanted to walk away with, and then added $25k more to the price. We knew that we wouldn’t get the inflated price, but figured that, after all of the haggling was done, we would end up with what we really wanted. And that is pretty much exactly what happened.

So now I can’t help but think that is what President Obama is doing. I think he learned his lesson when trying to negotiate with the House Republicans on the Stimulus Bill, and has inflated what he asks for, assuming that the compromise will end up being the amount of money he actually needed.

If that is so, then I must say: “Well played, Mr. President.”

McCain, Vietnam and houses

So, while talking with Jay Leno, John McCain decided to answer the house question with this little nugget:

“Could I just mention to you Jay, that in a moment of seriousness, I spent five and a half years in a prison cell, I didn’t have a house, I didn’t have a kitchen table, I didn’t have a table, I didn’t have a chair,” said McCain, citing his history as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. “I spent those five and half years not because I wanted to get a house when I got back home.” (via

Have y’all seen The Big Lebowski? You know John Goodman’s character, Walter, who always tries to equate everything to Vietnam? John McCain is that guy. He has turned into Walter. I keep expecting Jeff Bridges to show up, yelling “Everything’s a fuckin’ travesty with you, man! And what was all that shit about Vietnam? What the FUCK, has anything got to do with Vietnam? What the fuck are you talking about?”

Seriously, though, what does being a POW have to do with owning a bunch of houses?

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If you don’t like the facts, change ’em!

Leave it to that dastardly Dick Cheney to leave out facts because they don’t jive with the admnistration’s policies:

Seeking to play down the effects of global warming, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office pushed to delete from congressional testimony references about the consequences of climate change on public health, a former senior EPA official claimed Tuesday.

The official, Jason K. Burnett, said the White House was concerned that the proposed testimony last October by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might make it tougher to avoid regulating greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. (via Yahoo News)

Yeah, who cares about the truth, anyway! Ignore whatever doesn’t work for us!

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Musings on the election from a Linux user’s group email list…

One thing that libertarians, moderates, liberals and progressives seem to agree about is that the current administration has made a mess of things. The nation is much worse off now than it was eight years ago. Aside from the 25% or so of staunch neo-conservatives/Bush devotees, everyone is happy that the Bush years are coming to an end. I think that, no matter which way the election goes, things are going to get better starting in January.

Of course, as one of our groups two progressives, I have to say that I am looking forward to an Obama presidency. Obama is poised to do for the country what Bill Ritter is doing for the state of Colorado: break us out of the rut that politics has been stalled in for decades, and move us onto a better, brighter future. We are seeing this in Colorado, as renewable energy corporations are starting to invest heavily in our state under Ritter’s natural energy initiatives. Obama’s policies are on a much larger scale, and the impact will be that much larger.

Of course, I am making the assumption that Obama will be the winner in November. Based on the current economy, the momentum that Obama is building, and the general feeling that the American people are sick of Republican leadership, I am pretty positive about that assumption. Add to this the fact that John McCain’s main strength is national defense, which is not going to be a factor in the upcoming election (unless there is a major economic recovery in the next six months), and I become even more positive about my assumption. It’ll be Obama in ’08. And 2012, for that matter. 🙂

Dick Cheney is not Darth Vader….

As much as I hate to disagree with Randi Rhodes (mainly because she almost always ends up being proven right), I think she is completely wrong when she refers to Dick Cheney as Darth Vader. Vader was the active hand of the government; he was a visible sign of the Empire’s power. Cheney is more like Palpatine from the prequels, sitting behind the scenes, guiding everything that happens but doing a good job of not being seen. This is apparent from the the four-article series on Dick Cheney. As stated in Part Three:

it was Cheney who served as the guardian of conservative orthodoxy on budget and tax matters. He shaped and pushed through Bushs tax cuts, blunting the influence of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, a longtime friend, and of Cabinet rivals he had played a principal role in selecting. He managed to overcome the presidents “compassionate conservative” resistance to multiple breaks for the wealthy. He even orchestrated a decision to let a GOP senator switch parties — giving control of the chamber to Democrats — rather than meet the senators demand for billions of dollars in new spending.On the home front, the vice president is well known for leading a secretive task force on energy policy. But in a town where politicians routinely scurry for credit, Cheney more often kept his role concealed, even from top Bush advisers.

“A lot of it was a black box, and I think designedly so,” said former Bush speechwriter David Frum. “It was like — you know that experiment where you pass a magnet under the table and you see the iron filings on the top of the table move? You know theres a magnet there because of what you see happening, but you never see the magnet.”

That is some seriously scary power. It’s an evil, corrupting influence. Cheney is a very scary man. The idea that he is controlling so much – including the President – and really doesn’t care what others think shows exactly what Cheney is made of. And that’s the scariest though of all.

‘Brownie’ blasts Bush

So is this a case of rats leaving a sinking ship, or just a man trying to cover his own ass? Dunno for certain, but Michael Brown came out swinging hard against President Bush about the Hurricane Katrina recovery disaster (courtesy

Brown said his biggest mistake during the handling of Katrina was not standing up to his bosses and letting the American people know how the president and his aides did not want to hear the truth. He says subsequent media reports have shown him briefing the president as to the problems in New Orleans and questioning his staff when he heard people were being sent to the Superdome which he asserted was not safe.

“What really irritates me the most is that the leadership in this administration failed me miserably during Katrina,” Brown said.

I find this extremely interesting. George W. Bush stood by Michael Brown for a long time, even though everyone else in the country was screaming about how horrible Katrina relief was handled. Brown helped destroy an American city, and he deserved to be raked across the coals. Yet there was the famous quote from Bush talking about how good a job Brown was doing. Bush showed a lot of loyalty in Brown.

Which is what makes Brown throwing Bush and Chertoff under the bus so interesting. And odd. Is Brown just in self-preservation mode now? Actually, that is probably the answer…

Bush administration censors global warming info

Dunno why I am surprised by this. This administration has done this basic action again and again over the last 6 years. But there’s something about this one that seems more arrogant than the others. And more frustrating.

As reported by the New York Times, the Bush administration has basically forbidden government scientists and employees of the Fish and Wildlife Service from discussing issues regarding global warming:

Internal memorandums circulated in the Alaskan division of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service appear to require government biologists or other employees traveling in countries around the Arctic not to discuss climate change, polar bears or sea ice if they are not designated to do so.

But the Bush administration decided this isn’t Draconian enough:

“Please be advised that all foreign travel requests (SF 1175
requests) and any future travel requests involving or potentially
involving climate change, sea ice and/or polar bears will also require
a memorandum from the regional director to the director indicating
who’ll be the official spokesman on the trip and the one responding to
questions on these issues, particularly polar bears.

Bush administration finally called to task for global warming deceptions

For the past five years, the Bush administration got away with distorting facts about the effects of global warming. In less than a month, the Democratic congress is already tearing through the deceptions and holding the Bush administration over the coals:

Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) blasted the alleged political meddling, calling it “George Orwell at its best.”At the hearing, several witnesses testified that they had experienced or seen political interference by the Bush administration in climate-change science. Witnesses said press officers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies had manipulated or obstructed media interviews with government scientists. Witnesses also said that important research on global warming had been downplayed, edited or suppressed by a system of “minders” and “gatekeepers.”

Unfortunately, I think that a lot of damage has already been done. There are already a number of people who have bought into the administration’s deceptions and now don’t believe global warming is real. These people will not listen to scientific studies, but instead put their full faith in what the government says.

More racist ideas from possibly-racist Tancredo

Now as I’ve said before, I don’t know this for certain, but I am fairly certain that Tom Tancredo is a racist. How else can you explain most of his anti-immigrant stances, or his racist-tending ideas? For example, 9NEWS reports that Tancredo wants to have the black and Hispanic congressional caucuses abolished. Apparently, Tancredo believes that these caucuses are equivalent to segregation, which basically just shows that Tancredo has no idea what segregation is.

And don’t get me started on the hypocracy of Tancredo referring to anyone/anything as racist!

I don’t know how Tancredo got elected. And I have no idea at all how he beat Bill Winter in ’06. Hopefully things change when Tom’s up for re-election in 2008.

Bush still doesn’t have time for New Orleans

Dunno whether I should be surprised or not, but 17 months after it happend, President George W. Bush still doesn’t have time to talk about or help New Orleans (via Yahoo! News):

In the president’s State of the Union speech last year, delivered just five months after the disaster, the devastation merited only 156 words out of more than 5,400.

On Tuesday night, the president spoke for almost exactly as long before a joint session of Congress. But Katrina received not a single mention.

By contrast, in the days ahead of the president’s address, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia compared the U.S. money being spent on Iraqi reconstruction with the fraction committed to the Gulf Coast rebuilding. And, chosen to give the Democratic response to Bush on Tuesday, Webb brought up the continuing struggle of Katrina victims right away, listing “restoring the vitality of New Orleans” just behind education and health care among his party’s most pressing priorities, according to the text of his speech distributed in advance.

I don’t know if Bush is hoping that everyone will forget about things if he doesn’t mention them, or if he just doesn’t care what’s happening among the non-rich citizens of New Orleans. But it is obvious that he doesn’t spend any time thinking about New Orleans nor its citizens anymore. And it is also obvious that he isn’t going to send any large amounts of federal aid money to help rebuild the city nor the surrounding area. For whatever reason, Bush has turned his back on the city he allowed to be destroyed.

History is not going to look kindly on this Bush administration. And it shouldn’t. Between the massive failure in Iraq, and the massive failure in New Orleans, everything else doesn’t mean very much.