Archive for December, 2009

December 31, 2009

Panic In Right-Wing America

by Ben Hoffman

Rush Limbaugh was rushed to the hospital yesterday after suffering chest pains. He was listed in serious condition last night but appears to be okay. Millions of right-wingers breathed a sigh of relief.

Right-wingers, incapable of forming their own opinions, look to Rush to tell them what to do and think. While Glenn Beck has recently become the leader of many dito-heads – the teabaggers, for example — many still look to Limbaugh to fill the gap between their ears.

Without pundits like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and O’Reilly, right-wingers would still be angry and scared, but they wouldn’t have talking points to direct at liberals and would probably be just blogging grunts and groans.

Many Republican politicians also get their opinions from Limbaugh, which makes him a very powerful presence in America. Republicans are the party of polarization, not reconciliation. But without him, Republicans might actually decide to work with Democrats to make our country better.

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December 30, 2009

Republicans Hate Unions More Than They Hate Terrorists

by Ben Hoffman

Even after the failed terrorist attack on Christmas day, Republicans are still blocking the appointment to the head of the Transportation Security Administration because they’re afraid the nominee might unionize the TSA.

An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — if there were one.

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Obama’s nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.

Source

It makes you wonder why Republicans hate the middle class so much. With unions, employees can demand a living wage. Currently, most airport security workers make about $12 an hour, which is not enough to live on in most cities so many of these workers need to work more than one job to get by. Republicans would rather see another terrorist attack than have workers earn a decent wage.

Republicans have shown they are weak on terrorism and disaster response. Republicans allowed us to be attacked in 2001 after the some 50 warnings. Republicans showed they’re incompetent when it comes to disaster response as demonstrated by their response to Hurricane Katrina. Republicans have shown that they love their party more than they love their country as demonstrated by their reaction to the failed terrorist attack on Christmas. They’d rather use it to try to make Obama look bad than to try to work with Democrats to improve security.

Republicans would like to see our country attacked again because they have convinced a lot of people that they’re the party that can protect us better, even though they’re the party that allowed our country to be attacked in 2001 — the ONLY major attack on the United States civilians in our history.

December 29, 2009

Decade In Review – Part IV (Conclusion)

by Ben Hoffman

My wife and I went out to see the movie The Road yesterday afternoon, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic land where all civilization and almost all life is destroyed. Despite the fun premise, it was probably meant to be a warning that we need to do something to protect our country and planet from destruction.

This is the decade where global warming became a hot topic, due in part to Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth. Right-wingers deny global warming because, well, that’s what they’re told to do. But we saw extreme weather in the past ten years that resulted in the deaths of 100s of thousands of people. The unusually warm temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico fueled Hurricane Katrina and it escalated into a category five hurricane before making landfall, killing almost 2,000 people.

What was really scary was the political shift in our country and the polarization that resulted from the 9/11 attack with the us vs. them mentality. We saw our constitution trampled on, beginning with the 2000 election where the Supreme Court decided who would be our president. It exposed the problems with our election system, yet here we are over nine years later and very little has been done to fix the problems.

We saw President Bush use the 9/11 terrorist attack as a giant power grab. He decided that he alone could deem someone an enemy combatant. He used the NSA to illegally spy on Americans. We still don’t know the extent to which that was done or to what extent it was used for political purposes. We also saw our government torture prisoners in an attempt to help build the case to go to war with Iraq. We saw corporations writing regulations as we moved dangerously close to corporatism in our country. And we saw our country turn to socialism for the wealthy but capitalism for the rest of us.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 would lead to the housing bubble a few years later and reckless derivatives trading which turned banks into high-stakes gamblers. Hundreds of billions of our tax dollars would later be used to bail them out because they were deemed “too big to fail.” Low mortgage rates, from the fed lowering interest rates to fuel our economy, would also help fuel the housing bubble. Bush pushed for his “ownership society” and there were practically no background checks to get approved for mortgages. These things also helped inflate the bubble. As we’ve seen, all bubbles eventually burst.

The commodities market deregulation in 2000 would lead to the run up of the price of oil and food, which would push us into our current deep recession. Bush’s massive tax cuts, along with increased spending for the two wars would double our national debt and triple the deficit. And we also saw the flood of our manufacturing jobs to China as a result, in part, to admitting China into the WTO in 2001.

Our democracy is based on valid elections, yet because of the money involved in campaigning, our elections are fraught with abuse and lousy choices. In 2004, the candidates were parodied in the South Park cartoon as a choice between a shit sandwich and a giant douche. Kerry was the douche. As bad as he was, though, John Kerry, a legitimate war hero was made out to look like a coward by the media, and Bush, who never saw any action and went AWOL, was made out to be a hero.

Our country was moving dangerously close to fascism with the giant power grab by the Bush administration, the infusion of corporatism, the aggressive foreign policies, the waging of wars, the alienation of everyone else in the world, and the appointment of incompetent people to government agencies such as Michael Brown to FEMA to render them useless. Our country was saved in the 2006 Congressional election where enough people finally saw the light and voted Republicans out of power.

In the 2008 election, John McCain showed himself to be a dishonorable, lying, SOB who would do anything to get elected. He chose an unknown nobody from Alaska to be his running mate, just because he thought it would win him a few votes. McCain then adapted the motto: “America First,” which, of course, was just another gimmick. One morning, McCain made the statement that the fundamentals of our economy were strong and that afternoon warned that our economy was in trouble. John McCain’s chief financial advisor was Phil Gramm: the same person who authored the Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999 that repealed the Glass Steagall Act and contributed to the collapse of our economy.

On a lighter note, in sports, the Denver Broncos saw John Elway retire in 1999 after winning the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. The Broncos were a bore after that until drafting Jay Cutler a few years ago. While he didn’t have many wins, he had potential, and he made the game fun to watch again. But alas, he was traded to the Chicago Bears. Anyone who watched the game last night saw what Cutler has: the potential to become a hall-of-famer.

We saw the Rockies somehow make it to the World Series in 2007, but get creamed by the Red Sox in the series. The Rockies then traded away some of their best players and returned to mediocrity.

I took up tennis this year so I’ll mention Roger Federer, who is considered by many to be the best who’s ever played the game. He’s held the number one position for 237 consecutive weeks and won 15 Grand Slam singles titles. Too bad tennis isn’t televised more. I’m too cheap to subscribe to the Tennis Channel.

There were some really good movies during the past decade such as Last King of Scotland, Pan’s Labyrinth, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Memento, Mulholland Drive, There Will Be Blood, The Pianist, The Departed, Gran Torino, Eastern Promises… O Brother, Where Art Thou got a lot of people into bluegrass music, which was kind of annoying.

In technology we got YouTube, Wikipedia, flat panel monitors, HDTV, social networking sites, blogs, wireless networks, the near extinction of landlines phones, and GPS devices, to name a few. We also saw the price of computers come way down and the popularity of laptops go up. There was satellite radio, tasers, the short lived mini-disk, and Blue-Ray disk winning out over HD-DVD. Technology is still driving our economy to a great extent.

And so, in less than three days, we will enter the next decade: the tens? This decade was the aughts, as some called it. Come 2013, we can call it the teens. It won’t be until 2020 (the 20s) that we’ll have a term that won’t be so awkward.

We enter the tens with over 12 trillion dollars in debt, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Our country is still severely polarized, as we’ve seen with the tea-baggers protesting what they believe to be a move towards socialism/communism/fascism in our country. They blame Obama for the debt and deficits. They think that “health insurance reform” is the same thing as socialized health care. They claim Obama has raised our taxes when in fact, he’s cut them for most people. And of course, they believe Obama will take away their guns.

And so it goes.

December 28, 2009

Decade In Review – Part III (2007 – 2009)

by Ben Hoffman

2007

The sub-prime mortgage crisis that brought down our economy started some time in 2007. The current recession in U.S. officially began in December of 2007. Right-wingers around the country like to blame it on the Democrats taking power of congress early that year and some even blame it retroactively on Barack Obama. Right-wingers believe in the supernatural, so apparently they believe Democrats have the power to cause events to occur in the past.

Foot and mouth disease was found on a farm at in UK. All livestock was banned the following day. Foot IN mouth disease continued to affect George W. Bush’s speech patterns.

2007 marked an extreme escalation in violence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Multiple suicide bombings in Northern Iraq kill 572. Suicide bomber kills more than 50 in Afghanistan including 6 member of the National Assembly.

An earthquake in Peru killed 512 and injured more than 1500.

2008

This decade was just one disaster after another. In January, the price of oil hit $100 a barrel for first time. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 led to oil to be traded by speculators who drove up the price of oil for profit. The high price of fuel caused inflation and hurt consumption. People were spending all their extra money on gas with little left over for luxury items or even essential items. This helped drag our country into the recession.

Worldwide stock markets crashed, resulting in billions of dollars in losses. Rising food and fuel prices triggered riots in 3rd world countries. Lehman Bros filed for Chap 11 bankruptcy in September. 700 billion dollars was given to Henry Paulson in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act to purchase failing bank assets. Paulson changed his mind a few weeks after receiving the money and instead handed over hundreds of billions to his buddies in the banking industry. Tens of billions are unaccounted for since there was little accounting and no oversight as to how the money was spent.

Also in 2008, Fidel Castro resigned as President of Cuba and his brother Raul was elected to take his place. In June, Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft to concentrate on philanthropy. Perhaps that was to redeem himself for all the years of unethical and illegal business practices. Or maybe he just doesn’t need so many billions of dollars.

Over 130 thousand people were killed by Cyclone Nargis in Burma/Myanmar. Almost 70 thousand were killed in China by an earthquake. Shoddy building construction led to homes and schools collapsing on the occupants.

A suicide bomber hit the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 58 and injuring over 150. More than 60 people were killed in other suicide bombings in Afghanistan.

Buddhist monks protested China’s occupation of Tibet and many were murdered or imprisoned by Chinese officials. China has been one of the world’s worst violators of human rights, yet they were awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics. Athletes were concerned about the severe pollution in Beijing, but it didn’t seem to be a problem.

Late in the year, a global financial crisis erupted and banks failed worldwide and in November,
Obama was elected first black president.

2009

Which brings us to this year. Obama took office on January 15 and was immediately blamed for the recession. Although Bush’s last fiscal year ended in October of this year and his deficit was triple his previous record from 2008, Obama was blamed for putting our country deep in debt from all his “spending.”

The swine flu from Mexico was deemed global pandemic. Many people around the country have become sick or even died from the flu. Right-winger Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected in fraud-ridden election in Iran. Protests followed and right-wingers complained that Obama hasn’t done anything. Many cite Reagan’s “tear down this wall speech.”

Natural disasters continued with Typhoon Morakot hitting Taiwan and killing 500.

We have three days left of this disaster of a decade. Let’s hope for those to be uneventful. We nearly had another deadly terrorist attack on Christmas day. The only thing that saved the people on the airliner was the stupidity of the terrorist.

December 27, 2009

Decade In Review – Part II (2003 – 2006)

by Ben Hoffman

2003

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council on Iraq in February of 2003 and on March 20, the U.S. invaded Iraq. This was the first time our country ever declared war on a sovereign nation that was of no threat to us. With the war came the alienation of many of our allies and the polarization of political parties that we haven’t seen before in our country. At least not in my lifetime.

Although the war in Iraq would cost our country over a trillion dollars, Bush decided it would be a good idea to cut taxes and was able to get the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 passed using reconciliation, with Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote. He couldn’t even get a simple majority in the Senate because it was so obviously a bad idea.

On May 1st, George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, just off the coast of San Diego, where he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. A banner behind him declared “Mission Accomplished.” Bush had them turn the ship around so the photo-op would make him look like he was far out at sea. In December, Saddam Hussein was captured in Tikrit by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.

In 2003, we had the Abu Ghraib scandal, which incited more hatred of the United States by Muslims. It made many of us here wonder what kind of perverts were running the military prisons.

July brought us the treasonous act of revealing the identity of a CIA agent. Washington Post columnist Robert Novak published the name of Valerie Plame in the Washington Post, blowing her cover as a CIA operative. It turned out, Karl Rove first revealed her identity, but others also were involved, and then lied about it. Scooter Libby was convicted of lying to a Grand Jury in obstructing justice, but he would serve no time in prison. Bush would commute his sentence.

A major severe weather outbreak spawns more tornadoes than any week in U.S. history; 393 tornadoes were reported in 19 states. A heat wave in Paris caused temperatures up to 112°F in August. An earthquake in Algeria killed 2,200. In December, a massive earthquake devastated southeastern Iran; over 40,000 people were reported killed.

Facing an investigation surrounding allegations of illegal drug use, American right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh publicly admited that he is addicted to prescription pain killers. Some believe his followers to be heavily sedated, also.

Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry in February, killing all on board.

2004

2004 could be described as the year of terrorism around the world: suicide bombings killed 41 in Moscow, 66 in Baghdad, 116 in Philippines, 190 in Madrid, 89 in Chechnya, 10 in Moscow, 34 in Egypt, 22 in U.S. military base in Mosul.

Conservatives won a majority in Iranian parliamentary election, perhaps as a response to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iraqis were afraid they were next.

Some other major events: the last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in April, Nick Berg was shown decapitated on web video by Islamic extremists, the Ubuntu OS released, Bush was re-elected, Republicans gain control of the House and Senate, terrorists attack U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing several people.

One of the largest natural disasters in history resulted from an earthquake in Indian Ocean causing enormous tsunami that flooded many coastal areas killing over 186 thousand people. 40 thousand people are still missing. An earthquake in Kashmir killed 80 thousand people.

2005

Bush begins second reign of destruction. Iraqis, tired of the ineptitude, corruption, and violence, protest U.S. occupation of Iraq. Insurgent attacks increase. The terrorist attacks on London railroad killed 56 and injured over 700.

In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. At least 1836 were killed, making it one of the five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history. While President Bush and Michael Brown were telling the public everything was under control, news footage showed otherwise. CNN showed New Orleans residents stranded without food or water. FEMA claimed they couldn’t get help to the stranded, but celebrities such as Sean Penn were able to get through.

Hurricane Katrina marked the beginning of the end for Bush. Only the die hard conservative sheep remained faithful after most others realized they were being lied to.

2006

Natural disasters continued in February of 2006 with a massive mudslide in Philippines that killed 1,126. A Typhoon in November triggered another massive mudslide killing over 720.

In 2006, there also was the Israel/Lebanon War, Pluto was demoted to status of dwarf planet, E. coli in spinach killed 2 and poisoned 100s, and Peugeot produced their last car.

Saddam Hussein found guilty of crimes against humanity in November and executed in December. A series of attacks in Sadr City, Baghdad kill more than 200 and injured 100s others.

December 27, 2009

Decade In Review – Part I (2000 – 2002)

by Ben Hoffman

What an eventful decade.

2000

We began with the so-called millennium bug that was supposed to cause the end of the world as we knew it, but thanks to the work of software engineers around the world, it was a non-event. 2000 was also the beginning of a new millennium, except for the fact that the Gregorian calendar began with year one – not year zero. Of course, I doubt people were walking around saying “it’s year one” during the first year. Logic would retroactively make year zero the first year and the year 2000 the first year of the third millennium. But it was a good excuse to have two big celebrations.

The year 2000 also brought us the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which included Enron loophole that would allow speculators to run up the price of oil in a few years. The dot-com bubble peaked in January of 2000. The final Peanuts comic strip published following death of Charles Schultz in February. We baby-boomers grew up with Peanuts comics. Montgomery Ward went out of business after 128 years.

The crash of the Concord in Paris marked the end of supersonic passenger transportation. Windows released Windows ME in September of 2000, which was their worst OS since Windows 98. 250 million gallons of coal sludge spilled in Martin County, Kentucky, thanks to lack of regulation or enforcement of existing regulations. It was a worse environmental disaster than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

In October of 2000, terrorists attacked the USS Cole, killing 17 Americans and wounding 39. Those responsible would later be tried, convicted, and escape from Yemeni jails because Bush didn’t aggressively pursue justice. As with bin-Laden, it was too close to our oil buddies in the Middle East.

And in December of 2000, the Supreme Court, in the biggest violation of our Constitution in U.S. History, stopped the Florida presidential recount, effectively handing the state and the Presidency to George W. Bush.

And the decade went downhill from there…

2001

Wikipedia was launched in January of 2001, which simplified research for millions. If there’s any topic you want to get a basic understanding of, just look it up on Wikipedia. Students began to use it extensively, though, which may have made research just a little too easy.

This seemed to be a decade of severe natural disasters, beginning with an earthquake in India killing more than 12,000. There would be massive hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and mudslides that would take the lives of 100s of thousands of people.

Bush took office in January of 2001, inheriting massive budget surpluses. In February, after being in office just over a month, Bush bombed Iraq in an effort to antagonize Saddam Hussein into war. Hussein didn’t fight back. During the summer of 2001, there were many warning signs of an impending attack by al-qaeda on the United States, but little action was taken. President Bush spent the entire month of August on vacation on his ranch in Texas.

In Italy, after buying up nearly all the media outlets, Silvio Berlusconi ran for president, and guess what? He won! He who controls the media, controls politics as we saw with the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Stories critical of the run up to war were buried in the papers.

The flood of manufacturing jobs to China probably began with when it was admitted into the WTO in 2001. After 15 years of negotiations, this authoritarian country that has been responsible for more civil rights abuses than almost any other, was granted permanent normal trade status with U.S. It’s hard to find anything not made in China any more.

And of course, there was the September 11th attack. When notified of the first plane crashing into one of the World Trade Centers, George W. Bush sat in a children’s classroom for seven minutes reading My Pet Goat. Right-wingers defend him saying that it was good he didn’t do anything immediately because that might have frightened the children. Of course, that’s assuming that he would have ran out of the classroom flailing his arms and screaming “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! WE”RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!” A real leader would have gotten up immediately to inquire about the details of the attack and had an assistant inform the children of the President’s urgent business. Instead, those children will forever have the memory of our country’s commander-in-chief sitting there like a deer in the headlights.

After the attack, the world rallied in support of the U.S. Rather than use it for good, the Bush administration used it to further its political agenda. In October, our country invaded Afghanistan – the real front for the war on terrorism. In December, Osama bin-Laden was cornered in Tora Bora, but Rumsfeld decided not to go after him. Bin-Laden remains at large to this day.

In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law. Bush withdrew from 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty. Enron filed for bankruptcy. And Timothy McVeigh was executed for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

2002

In January, Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law, which has been deemed a complete failure in improving our educational system. It resulted in studying for the test rather than actual learning. Many students were encouraged to drop out rather than cause the school system to lose money.

Enron collapsed in 2002. Enron traders were partially responsible for California’s energy crisis in 2000-2001, capitalizing on deregulation of commodities trading from a few years earlier, but their fraud was many years in the making. Telecommunications giant WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the largest such filing in United States history. The Dot-com bubble bear market reached its bottom in October when the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped below 7,200.

The Beltway sniper attacks began with 5 shootings in Montgomery County, Maryland. Kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was murdered in Pakistan. Terrorists detonated bombs in 2 nightclubs in Bali, killing 202 and injuring over 300.

The Department of Homeland Security was established in 2002 in the largest U.S. government reorganization since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Bush illegally declared American Jose Padilla an enemy combatant. As the Supreme Court later ruled, presidents don’t have that power. That was just one in a long series of abuses of power that made the Watergate break-in and cover-up look like the work of boy scouts.

The Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution in 2002, which authorized President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate” in order to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.”

The Bush administration would cherry pick intelligence and lie us into war with Iraq. In November, Iraq agreed to the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. Also in November, the United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrived in Iraq. In December, as required by the recently passed U.N. resolution, Iraq filed a 12,000 page weapons declaration with the U.N. Security Council.

[This is the end of part one in our decade in review.]

December 26, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different: Tennis

by Ben Hoffman

We have a new blog about tennis in Colorado. While there’s not much professional tennis here, we do have several collegiate teams. Denver University, Colorado University, Metro State College, Colorado State University, and the Air Force Academy all have tennis teams.

I’ll be reporting on the local matches and will be interviewing the players. Maybe they’ll give me a few pointers, like what the hell is wrong with my backhand? What am I doing wrong? And how come I play great one game and then stink the next? But mainly I’ll be asking them about their game, how they got into tennis, what are their majors, and of course, who are their favorite players.

The site will be updated with information about the matches around Colorado. I’ll take a few photos and write some commentary. The site will also feature information about the Colorado Open, the Denver Open, and the professional tennis matches we do have here. They’re not big money matches and I doubt we’ll see Federer, Nadal, Roddick, or any other big name players, but they should be entertaining just the same.

For you players and fans out there, please check out our site at http://rockymountaintennis.blogspot.com/ and feel free to let us know what you’d like to see related to tennis in Colorado.

December 25, 2009

Russian Mafiya Hacks Santa’s GPS: Gifts Delivered To Jews

by Ben Hoffman

In perhaps their most vile act of sabotage to date, Russian programmers hacked into Santa Claus’ GPS navigation system and altered his delivery list, toggling addresses from false to true. While some of those excluded from delivery were merely those deemed “naughty” (as apposed to nice), the bulk of those whose status was altered were Jews.

As a result of the hacking, 100s of thousands of gifts were mistakenly delivered to the homes of Jews. Jews have been banned from receiving gifts from Santa Claus on Christmas day for centuries. Today’s breach of protocol has shocked the Catholic church especially. At the Pope’s concert at the Vatican last night, a woman, in a fit of panic over the incident, jumped over a barricade and lunged at the Pope, knocking him over. The woman, identified as Susanna Maiolo, had been a Pope fan for several years and was seated in the front row.

The Pope, who is usually calm and composed, lost his temper and hollered “You stupid bitch!” As security wrestled Maiolo away, the Pope kicked her leg, just above the ankle, and threw his cross at her. He then raised his right arm and barked “Heil Hitler!” Quickly composing himself, bystanders claim to have heard him utter “oops” as he placed his fingers over his lips.

This is a breaking story and we’ll have updates as the story unfolds.

December 25, 2009

Christmas In WordPressville

by Ben Hoffman

I’ve been reading some blogs this morning and it seems that Christmas doesn’t stop the flow of venom. It’s just another day to hate, fear, and lie. Evidently, people can separate politics from their other life where they are loving and “compassionate.”

Like most people, Christmas doesn’t have any religious significance for me. It has even less meaning because I’m Jewish, but my wife is Christian and we celebrate the holiday. Her family comes over to our house every year for a turkey feast and enough deserts to start a diabetes epidemic. It’s the one day out of the year when everyone in the family is together. While some of the in-laws can be a bit difficult to deal with, it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

Blogging wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if we all agreed on the issues, so I thank those on both sides of the aisle for participating in our discussions. And thanks to all those who just stop by to read some of the posts.

So on this day, I’m wishing everyone on both sides of the aisle a Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2009

Right-Winger In Virginia Post Office Releases Hostages And Surrenders

by Ben Hoffman

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Warren “Gator” Taylor was tired of driving, so he pulled off the interstate in this Blue Ridge Mountain town to buy gas and food. The Tennessee man had been angry at the government for months, even years, federal officials said Thursday, and this seemed like as good a place as any to use the handguns and mock explosives he had packed in his beloved red pickup.

He had no apparent connection to Wytheville, but the picturesque community of 8,500 reminded him of the tourist town of Gatlinburg, Tenn., three hours away. So after breakfast at a local eatery and a steak at Applebee’s, he pushed his wheelchair through the door of the post office Wednesday afternoon, officials said, slammed what looked like a bomb on the counter and took three people hostage.

Just over eight hours later, after demanding only a pizza he shared with his captives and a pack of cigarettes for a hostage who smoked, he let them go, wheeled himself outside in his chair and surrendered.

The gunman said he had no money, and his 2007 red Dodge diesel pickup truck was about to be repossessed. Mostly, he railed against the government — high taxes, gun control, and President Barack Obama.

Source

Now how did this guy develop such a hatred for government and specifically, Obama? There’s no mention of this, but chances are, right-wing pundits such as Hannity and Beck probably fueled his hatred with lies, fear, and hate mongering. After all, Obama cut taxes on the lower middle class, hasn’t proposed any kind of changes to gun rights, and most of what Obama has done and plans on doing will benefit people like Taylor the most.

At least the situation ended peacefully. This time.

December 24, 2009

A Blow To Bloviators: ACORN Didn’t Break The Law

by Ben Hoffman

A Congressional Research Service report commissioned by the House Judiciary Committee says ACORN hasn’t violated any federal regulations the past five years.

The report, released by Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers’s (D-Mich.) staff Tuesday evening, also reports that the undercover filmmakers that allegedly caught employees of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now breaking the law may have violated state law in their filming operation.

Separately on Tuesday, a New York federal judge rejected a motion from the Justice Department to reconsider a decision that ruled a bill that stopped funding for ACORN as an unconstitutional bill of attainder.

Source

I’m sure many right-wingers out there would have rather had something else for Christmas, but that’s the way it goes.

Happy Holidays!!! 🙂

December 23, 2009

Was Jesus An Alien From Outer Space?

by Ben Hoffman

The story goes: a star traveled across the sky and came to rest over Bethlehem. On that day, a virgin woman gave birth to baby Jesus.

Could it be that the witnesses to the event mistook the light in the sky for a star, but what they really saw was a flying saucer — a UFO? Could it be that the martians impregnated Mary with a seed from another world and Jesus was the son of an alien? It goes without saying that the martians were here illegally and therefore Jesus was the child of an illegal alien.

The story also claims Jesus rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion. It is very possible that he was never dead but instead was waiting for the mother ship to rescue him from his insane followers. On that third day, Jesus probably gathered his belongings and got aboard the space ship and traveled to perhaps another galaxy.

On Christmas, it could very well be that Christians around the world are celebrating, not a messiah, but an invasion from outer space. Check out this mosaic of Jesus:

What is that thing around his head? It could very well be a parabolic dish antenna that Jesus used to communicate with the mother ship. Check out this photo of Jesus entering the ship:


The photo clearly shows Jesus entering the bow of what appears to be an opening in the space ship.

And then we have the Shroud of Turin, which some believe shows the face of Jesus at the time of his burial:


Shroud of Turin

December 23, 2009

Michelle Bachmann: Welfare Queen

by Ben Hoffman

Michelle Bachmann — nut-job extraordinaire — has been on a personal crusade to save our country from the evils of socialism. But it turns out she doesn’t feel that way when it comes to her own family. Her family farm has received over a quarter of a million dollars in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006, yet she voted against every foreclosure relief bill aimed at helping the average homeowner. She claimed that bailing out homeowners would be “rewarding the irresponsible while punishing those who have been playing by the rules.”

Bachmann was a tax attorney and she knows the rules, all right. She knows how to milk the system.

John McCain has also rallied against socialism, yet this multi-millionaire collects Social Security and disability payments, even though he collects a hefty salary as a Senator.

Here are some other hypocrites of note:

Chuck Grassley, the longtime Republican senator from Iowa who warns his constituents of Obama’s “trend toward socialism,” has seen his family collect $1 million in federal handouts over an 11-year period, with Grassley’s son receiving $699,248 and the senator himself pocketing $238,974. Even Grassley’s grandson is learning to ride through life on training wheels, snagging $5,964 in 2005 and $2,363 in 2006. In the Grassley family they learn early how to enjoy other people’s money.

Then there’s Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., whose family has been on the government take for at least the past 11 years, pocketing some $500,000. The senator recently held a “prayercast” with Michele Bachmann to beseech God to kill health care reform as soon as possible because it would bring an evil socialist spirit into America. Like Bachmann, Brownback has a fierce belief in God, the free market and a two-year limit on all welfare benefits—unless it’s welfare to rich Republicans who don’t need it.

Not surprisingly, Blue Dog Democrats are on board with this welfare-for-the-rich thing. Max Baucus, the fiscally conservative Democratic senator from Montana who did his best to sabotage the health care reform process before it ever began, collected $250,000 in taxpayer subsidies to his family’s farm while fighting to keep Americans at the mercy of free-market health insurance. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, another Democrat, also helped hold the line against so-called socialized medicine for Americans who need assistance, even though her family farm business follows the socialized subsidy playbook to a T. The Lincolns pocketed $715,000 in farm subsidies over a 10-year period, and the senator even admitted to using $10,000 of it as petty cash in 2007. Democratic Rep. Stephanie Sandlin of South Dakota stayed true to her conservative free-market roots by voting against the public option. Meanwhile, her daddy, Lars Herseth, a former South Dakota legislator, collected a welfare jackpot of $844,725 paid out between 1995 and 2006.

Read more

December 22, 2009

Representitive Parker Griffith Switches To Nut-Job Party

by Ben Hoffman

After being a Democratic member of the House of Representatives for less than one year, Parker Griffith has decided to become a Republican. According to Politico.com, Griffith voted against everything the Democrats have tried to accomplish including the stimulus package, health care legislation, the cap-and trade energy bill and financial regulatory reform. So what the hell good is he anyway.

GOP leadership is thrilled — but not all Republicans are feeling the love. RedState founder Erick Erickson is already targeting Griffith:

That is a huge blow to Barack Obama. Griffith was an extremely endangered Democrat.

We should now hope him [sic] be an extremely endangered Republican in a primary. We will not fix the GOP’s problems if we keep allowing people who are not one of us to suddenly switch the letter next to their name and magically become one of us.

Source

I guess the real question is: will he pull a Palin and quit all together before his term is up?

December 21, 2009

How To Avoid Binge Eating During The Holidays

by Ben Hoffman

It’s too easy to pig out during the holidays. Often our refrigerators are stocked full of pies and our cabinets full of candies and other treats. It takes an enormous amount of will power to refrain from gorging on these tasty treats.

So how do we avoid binge eating? We need to pace our selves.

After breakfast, eat one or two slices of pie — preferably one with fruit filling. These are nutritious and satisfying. Avoid ice cream toppings at this point.

Mid morning, you can eat a sugar cookie or two to get you through until lunchtime.

After lunch, a few pieces of fudge is good. No matter how much you eat for lunch, there’s always room for a few chunks of fudge.

Around 2:00, you’ll be getting a second wind. That is the time for a nice scoop of ice cream topped with chocolate chips, nuts, and maybe some hot fudge.

Some hearty cookies are good around 4:00. Pick the ones with icing for a good sugar rush.

After dinner, relax a bit with some candy treats. When your food digests a bit, slice off a hearty piece of cake and top it with two full scoops of ice cream.

Before retiring to bed, eat a few oatmeal cookies with a tall glass of milk. Oatmeal is good before bed since it causes drowsiness.

That’s it! Just follow these tips and you’ll have a well managed holiday season!