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Maps and Figures

"Hitler or Coulter?" Quiz
Map1 - Teen Pregnancy
Map2 - Incarceration
Map3 - Homicide Rates
Map4 - Drop-out Rates
Map5 - Bankruptcy Rates
Map6 - Driving Distances
Map7 - Energy Use
Map8 - Gonorrhea!
Map9 - Tax Burden
Map10 - State GDP
Map11 - DHS funding
Map12 - Adult Illiteracy.
Map13 - Abortion Bans:
Map14 - ER Quality
Map15 - Hospital Quality
Map16 - Coal Burners
Map 17 - Infant Mortality
Map 18 - Toxic Waste
Map 19 - Obesity
Map 20 - Poverty
Map 21 - Occupational safety
Map 22 - Traffic deaths
Map 23 - Divorce
Figure 1 - Wages vs Right to work
Figure 2 - Unemployment vs Right to work
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Traitor Joe Strikes again
The Senate has failed to get a resolution passed for withdrawal from Iraq. Wondering why? Why LiebesBush of course.

The Reid Resolution to require a troop withdrawal beginning in 120 days and with a completion goal of March 31, 2008, failed 48-50. For those keeping score at home, those opposing were the 49 Republicans and Joe Lieberman.


Benedict Arnold doesn't seem mean enough an epithet to describe old LiebesBush. I need some kind of insult that combines a Benedict Arnold (for supporting this war against all the interests of this country and the treason to the Democratic party) and the state of being a thrall to a complete and total moron. Kakistocracy should be part of the insult. He's a Kakistocratic Benedict Arnold.

Gotta figure out how to clean that up. Kakistodict. Benedict Kakistocrat. Hmmm.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Favorite Democratic Action of the Day
Now this is what I'm talking about. Time for them to show they've got the reins of this government.

Senate Democratic leaders intend to unveil a plan next week to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the war in Iraq in favor of narrower authority that restricts the military's role and begins withdrawals of combat troops.

...

"We gave the president that power to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and, if necessary, to depose Saddam Hussein," Biden said of the 2002 resolution in a speech last week before the Brookings Institution. "The WMD was not there. Saddam Hussein is no longer there. The 2002 authorization is no longer relevant to the situation in Iraq."

Biden and Levin are drafting language to present to their colleagues when the Senate reconvenes on Tuesday, following a week-long recess.

The new framework would set a goal for withdrawing combat brigades by March 31, 2008, the same timetable established by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Once the combat phase ends, troops would be restricted to assisting Iraqis with training, border security and counterterrorism.


The embarrassing thing about all this is how Murtha's perfectly reasonable idea of having troops be combat ready has been used to paint him as some kind of micromanaging traitor.

Murtha, chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee and a leading critic of the war, had intended to fully fund Bush's $100 billion war request for the remainder of this fiscal year. But under his plan, those funds could be spent only to deploy combat troops deemed fully rested, trained and equipped.

After nearly four years of combat, most military units would not be able to meet those standards. Although the war would be fully funded, the policy would prevent some of the 21,500 additional combat troops from being deployed, and some troops already in Iraq would have to be sent home.

...

Several Democratic aides say the Iraq funding bill, due for a vote the week of March 12, may contain some of Murtha's demands for more training and better equipment for combat troops. But the proposals that set the toughest requirements are likely to drop out, such as a demand that troops be trained on and deployed with the combat equipment they will use in Iraq.

More important, the legislation may include a waiver that the president or defense secretary could invoke to deploy troops who are not fully combat-ready, Democratic aides said. That way, the commander in chief's hands would not be tied.

But under such a bill the president would have to publicly acknowledge that he is deploying troops with less than a year's rest from combat, that he is extending combat tours of troops in Iraq, or that he is sending units into battle without full training in counterinsurgency or urban warfare, the aides said.


My only question is, how can the Republicans get away with attacking Murtha when all he's asked is that the troops be trained on their equipment, trained on their mission, fully combat ready, and given time to rest between deployments? Perhaps it's because Murtha has inadvertently pointed out that if you really do support the troops, that means more than a yellow ribbon on your SUV?

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Are we just going to have to impeach him?
This is a week I really wish the new Democratic majority would really show it has a pair. I realize, they're trying to meet the Republican half-way, and without a significant majority they just don't have much choice. But with the saber-rattling over Iran, and the absolute brain-dead single-mindedness of their pursuit of a policy of escalation, in the face of a populace, a congress, and the world dead-set against it, I wonder will nothing penetrate the thick skulls of these morons?

Just look at the weekend's news. 125 killed in a single blast in Baghdad, and an estimated 1000 killed in a single week. Coverage of the refuge crisis in Iraq. We've lost 3096 soldiers, and (I've heard this quite a bit before it hit the media) we're sending them in with a severe equipment shortage. That is despite a budget cutting healthcare and education to extend the war. Military experts discussing the idiocy of an attack on Iran while Bush and co. are increasing the rhetoric, and possibly creating a situation in which an "Archduke Ferdinand" moment might occur.

Meanwhile a fascinating piece in the NYT about how we're contracting out vital government functions to private industry, and rather than experiencing lower costs from the private sector we see decreased competition, increased waste, increased fraud, decreased transparency, and essentially every worst nightmare of the feared corporatocracy.

So what do we have here? An incompetent administration, determined to follow a set and disastrous course of action no matter what. Congress is against them. Every military official who is free to speak their minds (it was a selection process after all to end up with our current set) opposes them. The people of America oppose them. Yet they continue? How do they have the gall? How do they have the complete and utter gall to ignore everybody and continue on a course of action which has been an unmitigated disaster?

The only answer I can think of, and based on Cheney's Larry King interview I believe the evidence is on my side, is that Bush and Cheney are insane. They think they are winning and that we are the ones who are insane. I'm wondering if we need to invoke the 25th Amendment on Bush, and then immediately again on Cheney. There is just no stopping them.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where's Zap Brannigan when you need him?
"I hate these filthy neutrals Kif. With enemies you know where they stand but neutrals? Who knows?"



The Senate has decided on a nonbinding resolution that says they don't want Bush's surge, but they'll pay for it, won't criticize it, and in all ways continue to bendover in order to get the ol' Lieberman vote.

I'm wishing we had Zap Brannigan around to take care of these damn Neutrals.

He has a sexy learning disability too, what's it called Kif?

**sigh** Sexlexia.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Protesting
Readers of Give Up will note that I have contempt for the way our generation protests, and tried to point out good examples of what works. But then people like this guy show up, this is from NYC last year.



Now, a lot of this reflects that when news organizations are going to cover events, they are going to be drawn to jackasses. That is not an excuse! When you go to a protest why are you doing it? The reasons I can think of:

  1. To register discontent with your government.
  2. To draw positive attention to your point of view.
  3. To try to change people's minds about an important issue.
  4. To foment change.


I see the pictures of the protests on yahoo, and what do I see? The same old crap. I'm sure there are plenty of people there who don't look like jackasses, but based on the slideshow you see that we end up being represented by the worst possible people in the bunch. The only conclusion I can draw, putting myself in the shoes of those whose minds we seek to change, is that:

  1. We are more interested in pissing people off than changing their minds.
  2. We are more interested in rebelling for the sake of rebelling.
  3. We do not have a unified message.
  4. We are not serious.
  5. We can be ignored.


Some examples? Let's take a look at some of these pictures:

From the AP, we have these protesters. Now looking at them, do you say let's hear what these guys have to say?



No? Why not? Was it the haircut? The unreadable signs? That when you do read the signs that they have nothing to do with protesting the surge in Iraq? The bandanas around their faces? What exactly is it about these two that make it so it would have been better if they hadn't even shown up? Oh yeah. Absolutely everything.

Check out this from AP:



Great ladies, we appreciate your art skills, but do you think portraying them as bloodthirsty ghouls does much more than scare and confuse children? Remember, people in this country voted for these assholes, and don't get me wrong I hate them too, but the people whose minds you're trying to change see this and think you're calling them monsters too.

Maybe that one's a little too subtle, let's go back to an easy one, from the AP:



So, when did it become a good idea to dress up like terrorists when you protest the war on terror? Once again we don't seem to be on message people.

Oh God! This is the proof of my point! They only find the jackasses in the crowd because here in DC they found the same damn one!



The same guy, different protest, still gets picked up by AP no less, still wearing the mask but now he's got more blood on his hands.

Now, this one from Reuters, what does this even mean? Are they pissed at the 18th century Spanish Galleons?


Sure enough the anarchists show up (anarchy meaning hating your parents because you're a teenager and they totally don't understand you). From the AP:



Oh, poor girl, they won't shake your hand, the demons! They must be responsible for Iraq, or your bedtime, or something.

Maybe wearing stilts will change someone's mind! From AP:



To make it all worse, what celebrities will show up and guarantee a bunch of fodder for the wingers and contempt for the cause? Why Hanoi Jane and that guy who used to be married to Madonna.
From Reuters:




Well now I'm convinced. The woman who sat on top of a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, in one of the most misguided efforts of all time to protest a war has joined our cause. Pardon me (sorry PZ) if I don't jump for joy at that one.

I tried and I tried to find a good example of people present at this protest who represent how it should be done. How you do change people's minds. It was hard, but I did find one image. From the Washington Post slideshow(pops):



Now that's how you do it. None of the jackassery, none of the theater, none of the acting out which makes people think you're more interested in pissing off your parents than changing the world. A simple message, one from the heart. One that speaks to your humanity and your good reasons for wanting change. That's how you change minds. It reminds me a lot of these guys.



That's how it's done people. Until we can get people to show up for these things, on message, acting like normal human beings, behaving like adults, and generally putting the best face on our argument, our protests are going to be little more than blips on the radar screen of this administration. As long as we show up and demonstrate in a manner that will do nothing more than mobilize their base and alienate people, they're going to feel safe ignoring you. I realize marketing is seen as something evil, but at a protest you are marketing your ideas. Now is wearing bandanas, waving schizophrenic signs and hand-puppets the best way to market your ideas? Yeah, you'll get on the news, and AP will point a camera at you, but for the sake of the cause, I really wish they wouldn't.

Once again, here are the three rules that should be obeyed by everybody at every protest.

  1. No one may wear costumes, build puppets, or carry signs with dirty language. If these people show up, they are the ones who get the attention, and your message is immediately and totally destroyed. Tell them to leave and never come back.
  2. People should wear their best clothing. No one is too upset when an anarchist gets the snot beaten out of them. They get very upset when cops beat up men and women that look like them. So, dress like the people whose minds you are trying to change. Wear suits, dresses, and put on your best face. This is like a job interview for your idea of changing the world.
  3. Protesters should know why they are there, be respectful to the media, and if interviewed, be prepared to say something succinct and informed about why they are there. Do not give the finger to the cameras (and I'm someone who loves giving people the finger).


It's not that hard people. When are we going to learn?

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Monday, January 08, 2007

The Sunk Cost Fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy, or alternately the Gambler's fallacy is the only possible explanation for the thought process behind the Bush/McCain/Lieberman escalation plan.

The sunk cost fallacy is the idea that to justify costs that have been lost in the course of an investment one should continue to invest more to prevent a total loss (even though the losses are already irrevocable). It's based on the idea that the value of something is what you invested in it, not what it is actually worth.

The gambler's fallacy is the idea that something can become due, it's the idea that a losing investment can't go bad forever (or that a winning one can't stay good forever) and therefore given enough time betting on a loser eventually your luck will change.

Whether you're talking about David Brook's Making the Surge work, Joe Lieberman's Why We Need More Troops in Iraq, McCain's Send More Troops or any idiotic justification coming out of Bush or Cheney's or any other neocon's mouth, it pretty much boils down to one or both of these fallacies.

This does not change that the cost of the war in terms of civilian casualties has tripled (for a total of about 23k Iraqi civilians confirmed dead in 2006), the 3000 troops we've lost, or the unimaginable waste of money, goodwill and potential for real progress against extremism in the wake of 9/11. These things are lost. They are gone. They can not be replaced. They can not be recovered. They are sunk costs. The investment of blood and money does not make Iraq worth any additional investment unless there is clear potential for gain.

Further, there is no evidence that anything in Iraq will improve with more troops, quite the opposite. More troops are just more targets, without any realistic chance of creating the secure environment necessary for Democracy. There is no good reason to think that a continued investment in Iraq will pay off because eventually good news has to come out of that place. Everything, all the evidence, points towards a civil war that is spiralling uncontrollably into total chaos.

Now, an idiot president who has fallen victim to the sunk cost fallacy or the gambler's fallacy may feel the need to justify the investment in Iraq we've made so far by putting our troops in the middle of a crossfire. This is idiotic. Things are not going to get better. No amount of investment will improve the situation, and the investment we've made so far is lost.

So, Neocons, Give UP, it's lost. You're polishing the brass on the Titanic, time to get off the ship. There is only one good thing to come of these idiotic justifications for extending this war, it could end the political careers of Bush, Cheney, Lieberman, McCain, and any other asshole that's supporting this stupid war at the cost of American lives and resources.

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

I couldn't let this pass
I was intending to start blogging again with the New Year, and I will, but I just couldn't let this pass without saying something. Maybe because I hate LiebesBush so much, maybe because it's further proof that he's a Republican mole in the Democratic party, maybe because it's further proof that he's just a terrible terrible human being, I don't know. But read the horror of LiebesBush's justifications for "Why We Need More Troops in Iraq" which should probably be re-titled "Why I think we should expand the war in Iraq to Iran."

On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States. Iraq is the most deadly battlefield on which that conflict is being fought. How we end the struggle there will affect not only the region but the worldwide war against the extremists who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001.


See this? He's doing just what Bush did with Iraq only with Iran. He's trying to suggest, weakly, that Iran and 9/11 are related. And the claim that "extremists and terrorists" are "sponsored by" Iran is completely beyond the pale. If there is a contribution to the insurgency, it would mostly be to Sadr and the Shiite militias, certainly not the entire insurgency and the evidence for this has been dubious at best. People seem to think that just because Iran is Shiite that they're all buddy-buddy with Shiites in Iraq - not so, cultural factors, the Persian/Arab divide, memories from the Iran-Iraq war (which was fought by a majority Shiite army in Iraq) create substantial divisions even between Iraqi and Iranian shiites. The Iraq Study Groups evaluation of Tehran's influence in the Iraqi insurgency was that they were using "soft power" not "hard power" in influencing affairs in Iraq, and that if anything they've passed on opportunities to further destabilize the country and in Afghanistan Iran has even been a stabilizing influence (not surprising that it would rather it's neighbors not be constantly embroiled in civil wars). (ISG on Iran) LiebesBush makes it sound like we're practically fighting a pitched battle with Iranian soldiers in Baghdad, this is an extremely irresponsible exaggeration.

Because of the bravery of many Iraqi and coalition military personnel and the recent coming together of moderate political forces in Baghdad, the war is winnable. We and our Iraqi allies must do what is necessary to win it.


Why does LiebesBush sound like he's president Bush's puppet? Oh, maybe it's because he is president Bush's puppet. Delusional statements like these that mirror the president's statements are a pretty substantial proof of why it would be worth losing the majority to kick this guy out of the party.

To turn around the crisis we need to send more American troops while we also train more Iraqi troops and strengthen the moderate political forces in the national government. After speaking with our military commanders and soldiers there, I strongly believe that additional U.S. troops must be deployed to Baghdad and Anbar province -- an increase that will at last allow us to establish security throughout the Iraqi capital, hold critical central neighborhoods in the city, clamp down on the insurgency and defeat al-Qaeda in that province.


Time for escalation, you heard it, LiebesBush is all for more troops rather than acknowledging that this is fundamentally a failed policy. We can not bring Iraq back with more troops, it was a mistake, and people like LiebesBush and Bush are responsible. The real policy we should be focusing on is removing people like LiebesBush and Bush from power, not figuring out ways to put more of our soldiers in harm's way in a futile attempt to achieve an elusive and increasingly impossible "victory" in Iraq.

The addition of more troops must be linked to a comprehensive new military, political and economic strategy that provides security for the population so that training of Iraqi troops and the development of a democratic government can move forward.


You know, this sounds like a reasonable idea. You know, having a plan. But what, more than anything has characterized this leadership from the beginning of the damn war? An absence of a goddamn plan! Why does LiebesBush think that somehow, magically, if we put in 30k more troops that this administration will magically grow a brain and manage any kind of future policy in Iraq with competence? Where has he been for the last 6 years?

Yeah, in a perfect world 30k more troops and a brilliant plan to bring moderates to power and provide security would lead to a stable Iraq. In that world Iran would respond to threats of violence by backing down and hiding in a corner. In that world we would have a leadership capable of designing and implementing effective plans for ground operations in Iraq. In that perfect world though, we'd never be in this mess, the Iraqi army would never have been summarily dismissed, looting would never have been allowed creating an insecure environment from the start, we wouldn't have destroyed their infrastructure as part of the invasion, and we wouldn't have supported a pathetic succession of crooked politicians like Chalabi over the desires of the Iraqi people. That world does not exist LiebesBush, we are dealing with the real world, in which people like you have screwed this up so bad that more troops will just mean more targets.

Bring them home.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Escalation
I wish they'd call this surge or boost what it is - escalation. It sounds like Bush has decided to completely ignore the Iraq Study Groups conclusions (aided and abetted by party-traitors like Lieberman), and actually send more troops into this pointless war.

I've been irritated about these articles since they started talking about them last week. But then, to cheer me up, here comes Colin Powell, with a brand new set of "retirement balls" as SNL called them, saying the obvious we're losing and we should leave.

Hey, whatever stupid mistakes Powell made shilling for this administration I'm willing to forgive for his candid advice now. This is a mistake, it will only get worse, we're a sitting duck in the middle of a religious civil war, and we should leave, ASAP. You're damn right buddy.

I guess we could stay, and ignore our death tolls, as long as we kill lots of Iraqis so it doesn't seem so bad.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

LiebesBush, the underminer
I forgot to blog this when I was traveling last Friday and saw it on the front page of the free hotel McNewspaper.

Some senators skeptical of Iraq Study Group's proposals. Guess which one(s)?

Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, expressed doubt that the United States could coax Iran into helping stabilize Iraq as part of a larger diplomatic initiative in the Middle East.

"I'm skeptical that it's realistic to think that Iran wants to help the United States succeed in Iraq," Lieberman said.


What did we say? LiebesBush is an underminer. A Republican mole in the Democratic party. Because, what of course was Bush's main objection to the ISG's recommendations? Why the same as LiebesBush's of course.

And he repeated his refusal to talk with Iran and Syria unless Tehran suspends its uranium-enrichment program, Damascus stops interfering in Lebanon and both drop their support for terrorist groups.


What is it about diplomacy that these people don't get? Yes, Syria and Iran are run by assholes who do things we don't like. The beginning of diplomacy is realizing that Syria and Iran could make the identical statement about the USA.

Just because you don't agree with your enemies doesn't mean you shouldn't talk with them, find dialogue, and common ground. Bush doesn't get diplomacy. It doesn't mean telling other countries they have to do everything we say, then we'll deign to talk to them. Diplomacy is about talking to your enemies without strangling them, and hopefully making them not your enemies one day.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Punishing polls
Americans hate Republican governance, and they hate Bush's war. just check out the latest polling it's the worst ever for Bush.

Just 21 percent approve of President Bush's handling of the war, the lowest number he's ever received, and an 8-point drop from just a month ago.

...

Opposition to the war is now taking on historic proportions, with 62 percent saying it was "a mistake" to send U.S. troops to Iraq - slightly more than told a Gallup Poll in 1973 that it was a mistake to send U.S. forces to Vietnam.

...

Seventy-one percent say the war is going badly, including 39 percent who believe the war is going very badly. Just 25 percent say it's going well. The negative assessment of the war was shared by a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

...

Sixty percent think that Iraq will never become a stable democracy - the highest number ever - while 85 percent now characterize the situation there as a civil war.


Well, Bush won't admit Iraq is a civil war, but sadly reality has a liberal bias. Everyone else seems to be able to smell the shit sandwich and he's looking more and more like the Worst President Ever.

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