Observations on the world today.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Metaphors Metaphors Metaphors 

Letters to the editor: 10/15/04
During this week of the 512th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the West Indies and America, I find it interesting that the story of that voyage is analogous to the current situation in Iraq.

Before the coast of Portugal disappeared from the horizon, many of his crew believed they were going to sail off the edge of the Earth. Columbus stayed the westerly course, and as the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, he began to doubt himself. Then from the lookouts came the word "land," and all believed.

As President Bush leads us through the Iraq war, the course may not be clear to us; however, the direction is correct. I am sure that when we arrive at that point, all the current critics will be silenced. Just as Christopher Columbus is regarded as the greatest explorer of his time, so too will George W. Bush be lauded for staying the difficult course, doing what everyone said could not be done and freeing Iraq. As the captain of a Swift boat and a highly decorated veteran, John Kerry should be aware of the tough command decisions necessary to lead, and unfortunately, he does not seem adept in that arena.

The preceding letter appeared in yesterday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

First, allow me to dispel a few myths about Columbus and his crew. They did not think the earth was flat. They knew that it was round, but they had grossly underestimated the girth of the planet and assumed that they would find India and that they would find it much sooner.

Once they did find land, they mistakenly thought they were in India. In fact, they had accidentally proven themselves wrong and refused to acknowledge the error, calling the people they met Indians. Unquestionably, their accident was not good for the indigenous people of the land they had come to, although the sponsors of Columbus' expedition did reap the rewards for generations. Unfortunately, they had to deal with insurrection from the "Indians" for many many years; finally suppressing it after a near genocide.

So, yeah, I guess it's a pretty good metaphor after all.



Friday, October 15, 2004

One Last Debate Observation Post 

In the final debate the other night, President Bush said:
Anyway, let me quote the Lewin report. The Lewin report is a group of folks who are not politically affiliated. They analyzed the senator's plan. It cost $1.2 trillion.

The Lewin report accurately noted that there are going to be 20 million people, over 20 million people added to government-controlled health care. It would be the largest increase in government health care ever.
So I did a little research, and found this press release by the Lewin Group. In part, it says:
1) How many people who currently lack health insurance would become covered under each candidate’s program?

• As a baseline, The Lewin Group projects that 49.5 million Americans will lack health insurance coverage by 2006, absent intervention of some kind (2006 was used as the benchmark for when the proposed reforms of each candidate would be implemented).
• According to The Lewin Group analysis, the Bush plan would cover 8.2 million new people. The Bush plan would reduce the number of uninsured to 41.3 million people, a reduction of 17%.
• The Kerry plan would cover 25.2 million new people. The Kerry plan would reduce the number
of uninsured to 24.3 million people, a reduction of 51%.
Point Kerry. Next in the press release, we find this:
2) How much money would each program cost the federal and state governments, consumers and other financial contributors over the 10-year span following implementation in 2006?

The analysis demonstrates that:

• Federal net expenditures would increase by $227.5 billion under the Bush plan and by $1,249.0
billion under the Kerry plan.
• State net expenditures would decrease by $19.9 billion under the Bush plan and by $343.5 billion
under the Kerry plan.
• Employer health spending under each plan would decrease – a drop of $4.7 billion dollars under the Bush plan and $52.1 billion under the Kerry plan.
Okay, so a couple of improtant points. First Bush was right when he said that the Kerry plan adds $1.2 trillion to the budget, but he fails to note that Kerry also pays for that by rolling back the tax cut given to the top tax bracket. Bush's plan, by comparrison, adds nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars right onto the deficit. Also, the Kerry plan saves employers and families and the states more money, and it insures more people. Thank you Lewin Group, and thank you President Bush for pointing us to one more source to help us understand why Bush must go.

While we're talking healthcare; one more quote from the debate:
Bob, we relied upon a company out of England to provide about half of the flu vaccines for the United States citizen, and it turned out that the vaccine they were producing was contaminated. And so we took the right action and didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country. We're working with Canada to hopefully -- that they'll produce a -- help us realize the vaccine necessary to make sure our citizens have got flu vaccinations during this upcoming season.
I see, so we can't reimport American drugs from Canada because of the risk of terrorist tampering, but we can import English flu vaccine. Except that the English flu vaccine is tainted so we're going to import some from Canada?




Thursday, October 14, 2004

Can You Hear Me Now? Bad. 

By now, you've probably heard the rumors that Bush goes into these debates wired to get the answers from somebody off stage. As evidence, the theorists offer this picture from the first debate:

And this picture from the second debate:

Here is a picture from the final debate:

This picture, or one very like it, ran on the front page of today's USA Today newspaper. Here is a close-up image from that picture:

You be the judge, but be honest with yourself.



Can You Say "Three for Three?" 

Political Wire: Instant Reaction
A CNN/Gallup instant poll finds Kerry the clear winner, 52% to 39%.

A CBS News poll of uncommitted voters who watched the debate found Kerry won, 39% to 25%, with 36% calling it a tie.

An ABC News Instant Poll of voters who watched the debate also found Kerry the winner, 42% to 41%. (Note: The survey group was 38% Republican, 30% Democrat.)
I hear the fat lady singing.



Wednesday, October 13, 2004

First Impression 

Bush was better tonight. By that I mean he only said about three really stupid things.

What was that rant about the media? And yes, Bush did say that he's not concerned with bin Laden. On March 3, 2002, Bush said, "Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." So combine that flub with the timber company flub from the last debate and we see that Bush is far too insulated; not only from the rest of the world but from his own world as well.

But I really was disappointed in the questions. It was supposed to be a domestic policy debate, and about half of it was consumed rehashing stuff from the foreign policy debate. And that question about wives was just fluff. Is that the best Sheiffer could come up with?



Proof That Conservatives Don't Understand Humor 

Blogs for Bush: Caption Contest Results

The right-wing blog "Blogs for Bush" recently had a caption writing contest for this picture:

The winning entry:
"John Kerry sees his own end on the campaign trail." -Faye

"It's not so much a flip-flop as it is a summersault..." -NoDonks
"I insist, I've only had one position. One position." -naveen
Wow! I could have written a better anti-Kerry caption myself, and I plan to vote for the guy.

Choose from the following:
• Go long. No, wait - short. No! No, go long.
• Hey, Secret Service People, look what I can do!
• I feel like my hero, Jack Lambeau - er Lambert. Damn it, I always get those two confused.
Hey, I didn't say that they'd be funny. Just that they'd be better.



Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Yes or No 

I recently posted about Kerry’s response to the abortion question in the most recent Town-hall style debate. But now I want to talk about Bush’s full reply and how it can be used against him in the next debate.

Here’s what Bush said:
My answer is, we're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion.

This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people can agree on how to reduce abortions in America.

I signed the partial-birth -- the ban on partial-birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. My opponent voted against the ban.

I think there ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them.

I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

In other words, if you're a mom and you're pregnant and you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. My opponent was against that.
Kerry called him on that:
Well, again, the president just said, categorically, my opponent is against this, my opponent is against that. You know, it's just not that simple. No, I'm not.

I'm against the partial-birth abortion, but you've got to have an exception for the life of the mother and the health of the mother under the strictest test of bodily injury to the mother.


It's never quite as simple as the president wants you to believe.
To which Bush stupidly shot back with:
Well, it's pretty simple when they say: Are you for a ban on partial birth abortion? Yes or no?

And he was given a chance to vote, and he voted no. And that's just the way it is. That's a vote. It came right up. It's clear for everybody to see. And as I said: You can run but you can't hide the reality.
This is the point we can hammer home. Kerry needs to work this into the debate:
Mr. President, your father was also a believer that abortion is wrong, although he made exceptions for cases such as rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger. I understand that you too support those same exceptions. Yet in the debate last Friday, when I said that I’d voted against the partial birth abortion ban because the bill had no exception for the safety of the mother, you said that a vote is a vote. That any vote against a bill outlawing partial birth abortion is a vote in favor of the practice. You said this even after I had said that I would have voted for it had there been a provision protecting the life of the mother. So which is it, Mr. President? Are you in favor of an exception allowing women to choose abortion when their lives are in danger, or are you against it?


Can You Plagiarize & Then Sue For Plagiarism? 

Yahoo! News - Scriptwriter sues Sony for plagiarising J. Lo film
A New York-based scriptwriter is seeking five million dollars in damages from Sony Pictures for allegedly stealing the idea behind the 2002 movie "Enough" starring Jennifer Lopez, her lawyer said.


A subsequent viewing of "Enough" -- in which Lopez plays a waitress in an abusive marriage, who flees from, and eventually kills, her husband -- convinced Turner that the film was an adaptation of her script.
Isn't that the plot of Sleeping With the Enemy?

I'm just saying.



Monday, October 11, 2004

Post No Bills My Ass 

I have designed a flyer. (Click the link to see a legible version.) Feel free to use it. I quote Bush from the debate promising not to have a draft, and then follow up with several of his past promises, and how they turned out. I don't think we should let Bush kill a perfectly good meme.

I know that I had said earlier that I wasn't going to use the Two-face image, but it grew on me. So I flip-flopped.

I have been hanging a lot of flyers lately. I go out late at night/early in the morning. Five AM Sunday I was posting flyers on telephone polls outside the local churches. The next time I go out to hang this flyer, I have a new technique that I want to try. I'm going to take transparent packing tape and wrap the tape around the poll sealing the flyer in a see-through cocoon that's not easily removed. It's not hard either in case the need arises. Simply score the page and tape vertically with a key or blade and tear down the center, then peel the whole to-do off like a celophane jacket. This will discourage petty ripping-down of the message. I've found that happens a lot.



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