Friday, September 24, 2004

Leaving lots of children behind

President Bush lied. Again. That's about the only thing that can be concluded from this story.

In his convention address in New York, President Bush announced a new $1 billion initiative to enroll "millions of poor children" in two popular government health programs. But next week, the Bush administration plans to return $1.1 billion in unspent children's health funds to the U.S. Treasury, making his convention promise a financial wash at best.

The loss of $1.1 billion in federal money means six states participating in the State Children's Health Insurance Program face budget shortfalls in 2005; it is enough money to provide health coverage for 750,000 uninsured youngsters nationwide...

I guess they have to pay for those tax cuts somehow.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Bush economy keeps chugging right along

Remember, it's the economy, stupid!

Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The index of leading U.S. economic indicators fell for a third consecutive month in August, suggesting slower economic growth ahead amid rising crude oil prices, a private group said...

Crude oil prices reached a record in August and job growth slowed from earlier this year, restraining incomes, consumer confidence and the appetite to spend...

Wage increases over the past year have failed to keep up with inflation. Average hourly wages for production and non-supervisory workers, which account for about 80 percent of the workforce, were up 2.3 percent for the 12 months ended in August, according to figures from the Labor Department. Consumer prices rose 2.7 percent over the same period...

The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose to 350,000 last week, the Labor Department said in a separate report, linking most of the increase to Hurricanes Charley and Frances.

How much evidence do we need that Bush doesn't have a clue about how to fix the economy? He does know how to get oil prices up, however.

High oil prices played a part in the second-quarter soft patch and continue to be a factor in the economy...

Crude oil prices averaged $44.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, compared with $30.99 a year earlier...
Oil prices could top $60 a barrel by the summer of 2005, said Wachovia Corp. economist Jason Schenker in a report issued yesterday.

Partisan hurricanes?

Partisan hurricanes?
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
This is pretty funny.

The hurricanes that struck Florida this year have all conveniently avoided counties that went for Gore in 2000.

I think Pat Robertson should be worried.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Offensive liberal caricatures

Prickly City 9-23-04
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
So what is a liberal anyway? There are all of these caricatures and stereotypes of liberals constantly being bantered about in editorial cartoons, letters to the editor, talk radio, etc.
Often times it is the aging Hippie with his hair pulled back in a ponytail, usually wearing round glasses and dressed in either tie dyes or an outdated suit jacket (in the case of academic types). But these images are beginning to be a bit old as the Boomer generation nears retirement.
I guess the thing that offends me the most is the implication that a person with liberal political beliefs also has bad values in their personal life.
An example is this recent Prickly City comic strip - the newest right-wing political comic picked up by the San Antonio Express-News (Comic balance is currently 4-1 with Prickly City, Mallard Fillmore, Nacho Guarche and B.C. on the right and just Doonesbury on the left.)
The strip features a little girl and a young coyote who constantly make right-wing observations and take pot-shots at Democrats and liberals. The strip from Sept. 21 was particularly offensive. It has a grotesque man carrying a bottle of booze and smoking a cigarette making a pass at the little girl and revealing that he is a sexual offender. He then shouts out an anti-Bush profanity, barfs on everything and then passes out. The "punchline" is that he represents the typical Hollywood liberal.
The fact that the author tries to equate drunkeness, slovenliness, smoking, sexual perversion and profanity with liberalism is both outrageous and highly offensive. Whenever I think of a Hollywood liberal I imagine someone like Paul Newman (who actually lives in Connecticut) who launched the Newman's Own food line and gives all the profits away to charity. When I lived and worked in Connecticut many years ago I got to see firsthand the beneficial results of Newman's philanthropy.
But still this gross caricature persists in the minds of many conservatives. No wonder they find it so easy to despise liberals.
But the only problem is that I don't fit that description (and neither do most liberals I know). While I have some very strong liberal political beliefs, I am probably more conservative in most of my personal habits than most conservatives I meet.

I don't smoke.
I don't drink alcohol.
I have never taken drugs.
I don't use profanity.
I don't gamble.
I've been happily married for 14 years.
I go to church regularly (Methodist).
I wear my hair relatively short and dress in slacks and a tie when I go to work.
I drive a Ford F150 pickup truck.

So what is it about me that makes me a liberal? Is it the fact that I don't openly condemn people who don't mirror my personal habits? Is it because I am too forgiving of other people's faults? Or is it because I want the government to tax all my conservative friends into the poor house and give all their money away to welfare cheats and roustabouts? (Just kidding!)

More on this later...

Monday, September 20, 2004

A correction

Mark Harden notes in the comments on the last post that in light of the CBS admission that they cannot authenticate the memos they used for their 60 Minutes story last week I now have a statement on this blog that is no longer supported by the evidence at hand.

"...this blog still has a post online, without correction or update, which states that President Bush disobeyed a direct order while serving in the National Guard. That little tidbit of slime has only one source: the forged memos which even CBS now admits are fraudulent."

Mark is correct, in part. I still believe that Bush demonstratably disobeyed an order to partake in a flight physical in 1972, but I can no longer say for certain that he disobeyed a "direct order" to that effect. The fact is that it was a "requirement" of the National Guard at the time that all pilots submit to a flight physical every year. That is what is called a general order.

When I was in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M it was a requirement that I be up each morning by 6:30 and out on the quadrangle with my outfit for morning formation before marching to breakfast. I suppose Cadet George W. Bush probably would have lounged around in bed all morning until some upper classman came and gave him a "direct order" to get up, but the rest of us required no such special encouragement (nor did we want it).

Since Bush failed to take a flight physical in '72 we have to assume that at minimum he disobeyed a general order. There is no evidence that he had special permission to skip the physical requirement. It is still possible that he also disobeyed a direct order, but we do not have documented proof as such. Ruth Knox, Col. Killian's secretary, says she remembers typing up memos that said as much, but since they have apparently been "cleansed" from Bush's files there is no way to verify it.

I stand corrected.