Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ugh.

http://www.cjonline.com/images/012802/new.rumsfeld.jpg

"Defense boss has few friends left"
Several high-profile former military officers have called for Rumsfeld's resignation, including a number of retired generals who led troops in Iraq. More recently, Rumsfeld was harangued by the Alaskan families of soldiers whose tours in Iraq were extended for four more months of combat duty in Baghdad.
In an interview during his flight to Fairbanks, Rumsfeld told The Associated Press he saw no reason for the soldiers or their families to be angry at him.
"These people are volunteers," he told reporters Saturday. "They all signed up. They all are there doing what they're doing because they want to."
Rumsfeld's admirers adore such frankness, but it doesn't sit well with everyone. Among the immediate critics of Rumsfeld's comments about the recently extended soldiers was Karen Meredith, of Mountain View, Calif., whose son Kenneth Ballard was killed in Iraq in May 2004.
"This arrogant, pathetic excuse of a man has once again disrespected and shown how little he regards the military that he supposedly leads," Meredith
wrote in her blog, ''Gold Star Mom Speaks Out.''

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Have Nothing to Say About This

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Brave New World of Benign Corporate Oligarchy?

Here is something to think about from Sebstian Mallaby in the Washington Post. Some years ago I sat through a Market Lubbock presentation where one of the featured speakers asserted to the congregated businessmen that business should be setting the political agenda and not the other 'way round. At the time, it made my blood run cold. Mallaby's thoughts at least are less suspicious and gloomy than mine when it comes to corporate responsibility, which tend to government of, by and for, corporations . . .

If political accountability is reduced to brand accountability what happens to the rest of the human universe outside consumerism?


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/06/AR2006080600841.html

A New Brand of Power
By Sebastian Mallaby
Monday, August 7, 2006; Page A15

"The rising power of brands has implications for public health, globalization and the environment. It may even be changing the political equation."

"As brands have grown bigger, they have also grown more vulnerable. . . . It almost doesn't matter how much America Online spends on advertising. A blogger recently recorded a company salesman refusing to cancel an account when asked repeatedly to do so. The Monty Pythonesque result is all over the Internet, ruining whatever might be left of AOL's brand."

"If brands are both valuable and vulnerable, political consequences follow. Mighty companies have so much riding on their corporate image that they quiver in the face of customer opinion. And if they are mass-market companies, customer opinion is the same as public opinion, so corporate bosses become as sensitive to political and social shifts as elected officials."

"The next stage may be for companies not merely to outpace government but to pull government along. Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks, broke the mold by offering comprehensive health benefits to part-time workers, but now he's even more ambitious: He's lobbying Congress to fix the health system. Meanwhile, companies such as BP and GE have enhanced their brands with enviro-friendly policies, and perhaps may now nudge governments to become greener as well."

"But whether or not we get to that, something big is going on. At a time when Washington seems incapable of tackling serious policy challenges, brands are creating a sort of shadow government. They cannot replace the real one, not by a long shot. But they are better than nothing."

Monday, August 07, 2006

NY Daily News: "I'm not Bush,' pleads trailing Lieberman before vote..."

"Look at me, folks - I'm not George Bush," Lieberman said, pointing to his 18 years in the Senate.



"Saul and Jonathan—
in life they were loved and gracious,
and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions....
"I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women."
2 Samuel 23 & 26

Oh, you sad little man. Just go away.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Democrats will take back the house in 2006

I've been waiting for a poll like this one.
-Synthesis

Monday, July 10, 2006

Texas Politics

Tom DeLay just might be forced to run for congress this year. This is bad news not only for GOP hopes in the TX-22, but for all GOP candidates around the country who have ties to Tom DeLay--candidates like Randy Neugebauer.

Randy Neugebauer refuses to return the $15,000 he received from Tom DeLay's shady PAC. He voted for rules that would have made it easier for DeLay to remain in power, despite DeLay's corruption. Randy Neugebauer even contributed to the Tom DeLay Defense Fund. Randy Neugebauer did these things because he is in thrall to Tom DeLay. This is why Randy Neugebauer voted however Tom DeLay wanted him to, instead of voting in the best interests of West Texas.

The Texas-19 deserves a real representative. Robert Ricketts is the real deal. He is a true West Texan, and an honest man. The Texas-19 would be much better represented by Robert Ricketts than by a Tom DeLay stooge like Randy Neugebauer.
-Synthesis

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ouch.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hybrid cars for all: good business sense

My father came up with the following idea, and has been sending it around to as many people as possible. Good plans like this one reinforce the idea that environmentally friendly hybrid cars could be made available to everybody at a reasonable price without breaking any current business models.

Without further ado:

---------------------------------------------

I wanted to mention an idea to everyone, for what it is worth.

As far as I can find out, it would be a complete no-brainer, off-the-shelf, ready-to-go-today caper for one of the US automobile manufacturers to design, produce, market, and sell a car with the following properties and capabilities:

* Is a hybrid (small internal combustion engine and an electric motor, as in Ford Escape Hybrid);

* Can be plugged into a home AC socket for charging (Toyota Prius or other hybrids can be easily modified to enable this: it gives more miles as an electric, extends gas mileage greatly);

* The internal combustion engine is a Flex engine (this means it can burn gasoline or gas/ethanol mixtures from 10% E/90% G known as E10, to E85 which is 85% E - this requires really minor mods to contemporary engines, such as changing the fuel lines so the ethanol doesn't melt the line - flex engines are nowadays common and they automatically adjust to the type of fuel in the tank - just fill it with whatever and go).

Imagine how you would operate such a car. Plug it in your house, then drive it around town as a pure electric. Go on a long trip, burn only gas or some ethanol mix. Run it as a hybrid when your plug-in battery juice is over and you don't want to stop for another plug-in session. Auto manufacturers would sell cars, gas and ethanol producers and distributers would continue in the manner they now use with virtually the same equipment, repair facilities already handle these technologies, less oil is consumed which will aid the environment. And we could come close to energy independence very quickly which would literally save lives.

This is completely do-able right now with existing inventions, manufacturing techniques, and fuel distribution systems. We would not have to wait X number of years, as the manufacturers have said before, for technology to catch up with manufacturing.

I intend to send this idea around to several other persons and ask that they send it to anyone who might be interested in encouraging implementation. It seems to me this is an idea that would end our famous oil addiction, and would have a very beneficial impact on our national defense posture. This could be done in a year.

---------------------------------------------

Hybrid cars work now, and they don't put anybody out of business. Spread the word!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hutchison: no to minimum wage increase

Today the Senate voted not to have one of those infamous "up or down" votes on raising the minimum wage, something that Democratic senators bring to the floor every single year. Texas's own Kay Bailey Hutchison was one of the NAYs.

I guess that increasing the minimum wage to a liveable amount might make her millions of dollars in big corporate stocks go down a little bit.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

MoveOn Progressive Potluck

Capsule summary: success!

Thanks to Jenn and the MoveOn group here in Lubbock for a wonderful potluck tonight that brought a good cross-section of Lubbock progressives together -- and half of our candidates as well! I met a lot of new people and had a great time.

I've always admired MoveOn's ability to bring an army of activists out of the woodwork at just the right time on just the right issues. This potluck and their announcement of "Operation Democracy" are the latest examples of their winning formula.

Onward!