Presidential Candidate Forum at YearlyKos

Last year’s YealyKos convention made history. This year’s YearlyKos convention is looking better and better!
YearlyKos Netroots Convention announces unprecedented forum for 2008 presidential candidates and progressive leaders,

Today organizers of the YearlyKos Convention announced an unprecedented forum featuring potential 2008 presidential candidates during the second annual YearlyKos Convention on August 4th in Chicago. Organizers touted the forum as an opportunity to use technology to empower regular citizens and grassroots activists to engage, vet and evaluate America’s potential leaders, both face-to-face and online.
…Organizers are also asking the candidates to spend time in individual, unscripted “citizen dialogues” with convention attendees, encouraging substantive discussions that transcend the competitive nature of most joint appearances on the campaign trail. The events and conference are open to media and blog coverage.

Go read the whole thing.
You can register here. It’s in Chicago, August 2-5.

A Far Too Convenient $mear: Part One – Updated – Rush Update

Co-written with (mostly written by) James Boyce
(Note – visit this follow-up post for a link to Tennessee Center for Policy Research tax forms.)
Did you honestly think that the Right Wing $mear machine was going to let Al Gore stand up with the terrific team who created and direct the movie and receive an Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth?”
Did you really believe they would stand by and watch a Democratic leader validated for his life’s work?
No chance in hell. As we have said here before, They destroy our leaders. Note to Senator Obama: spare us the hope and bi-partisanship talk and help us fight back.
Here’s what we know, what we think, what we’re trying to find out and how you can help.

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The Talking Dog’s Guantanamo Series

The Talking Dog has interviewed David Rose, author of Guantanamo: The War on Human Rights. This is only one of more than twenty interviews The Dog has conducted with people who have first-hand knowledge of what’s happening in Guantanamo. (These are all linked at the end of the Rose interview).
The Guantanamo issue tends to get lost in the shuffle, but it’s important in the long run because of what it signifies for the future of the U.S. If the Bush administration’s lawless authoritarianism is not reversed, much of the Constitution will effectively have been nullified.

What Exxon Money Buys

From a “senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute” we get this: Patrick J. Michaels on An Inconvenient Truth on National Review Online,

This Sunday, Al Gore will probably win an Academy Award for his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a riveting work of science fiction.
The main point of the movie is that, unless we do something very serious, very soon about carbon dioxide emissions, much of Greenland’s 630,000 cubic miles of ice is going to fall into the ocean, raising sea levels over twenty feet by the year 2100.
Where’s the scientific support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent Policymaker’s Summary from the United Nations’ much anticipated compendium on climate change. Under the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore’s film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent.

Except that the UN report specifically said they were leaving out a prediction of how much sea levels would rise from melting polar ice because they could not be precise,

The panel said that because there is no scientific consensus about how fast ice in the Arctic and Antarctic are melting, its estimates of sea-level rise are based only on the fact that ocean water expands when it warms.

A follow-up UN report says there is a 50% chance that the melting ice will raise sea levels by 13-20 FEET.
I’m just a Fellow, not a Senior Fellow, and not even in “environmental studies,” but I knew that. I wonder if this clown got a $10,000 check for writing this stuff.


My logs show that I am getting several spam comments per minute right now. I imagine this is going on across the blogosphere…
I have the blog set to only publish comments from authenticated commenters so you don’t have to see the “webcam casino poker viagra” crap that the spammers are trying to post…

Why Wingnuts Toe The Line

Why do wingnuts toe the line? It isn’t JUST the money. It’s also because it is very, very ckear what happens to them when they cross the line and displease the Right’s leadership, even a little bit.
A very well-known and popular hunter who writes for outdoors magazines, gives talks across the country and stars on his own TV show wrote one time that he doesn’t think people should hunt with military-style assault rifles.
Bang, career over. They are making an example of him.
‘Terrorist’ Remark Puts Outdoorsman’s Career in Jeopardy,

Zumbo’s fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America’s gun culture — and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.
… The reaction — from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association — has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo’s career appears to be over.
… The NRA on Thursday pointed to the collapse of Zumbo’s career as an example of what can happen to anyone, including a “fellow gun owner,” who challenges the right of Americans to own or hunt with assault-style firearms.

It Really Is This Simple – Bloggers Are About The Real World

I glanced at “The Note” this morning to get the Washington Insider view of things.

“See the Democrats in Congress not falling into the Republicans’ trap (yet) and avoiding a stop-the-war strategy that will (fully) open them up to charges of abandoning the troops. As they tinker with various legislative efforts to achieve their goal of bringing American troops home, Democrats have three main goals: (1) appease their base; (2) keep their coalition together; and (3) most of all, pressure enough Republicans to demand that the President change course. Oh: and: as a political matter, is the surge working?”

I have to give them credit for saying right at the start, “to achieve their goal of bringing the troops home.” But the rest of it? The rest of it is about the politics of it. In fact the entire rest of today’s Note is about “the politics” of everything – which is to say, about nothing.
The DC media perspective is about the politics. The blogger perspective is about what is happening in the real world. A lot of people are content to argue about politics and positions. I guess it’s easier, emotionally, than thinking about the real world.
Here are some things going on in the real world:
Those people in Iraq are D.E.A.D.
That national debt is Money. That. We. Owe.
Houses and buildings Will. Be. Under. Water. from global warming.
Every single day that the posturing continues more people die in Iraq, more carbon goes into the air, more money is owed.
It really is this simple.

Bush Forming Religious Police?

Hoo-boy here’s one to worry about. Attorney General launches religious freedom initiative at SBC meeting. (SBC means Southern Baptist Convention.)

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales met with Southern Baptist leaders Feb. 20 to unveil a new Department of Justice initiative aimed at educating Americans about their religious liberties and to ask for the Southern Baptist Convention’s help in identifying and reporting abuses of those liberties. [emphasis added]

Great. The government working with the Southern Baptists to identify and report abuses of their religious liberties. And of course, the usual right-wing gibberish accompanies this new campaign,

“Why should it be permissible for an employee standing around the water cooler to declare that ‘Tiger Woods is God,’ but a firing offense for him to say ‘Jesus is Lord’?” he said to vocal affirmation from Executive Committee members. “These are the kinds of contradictions we are trying to address.”

Has anyone, anywhere ever been fired for saying “Jesus is Lord?” Of course not.

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Bush Cutting Medicaid To Pay For ONE FAMILY’s Tax Cut

Who is our economy FOR? Bush is cutting Medicaid by $28 billion. Bush is giving the Walton family (Wal-Mart heirs) a $32.7 billion tax cut. You do the math.
Go see who else wins and loses: Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush’s Billionaires,

If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family — the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune — would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.
The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.
[. . .] That’s not only bad government, it’s bad capitalism. It makes legalized bribery and political connections more important factors than performance and competition in the corporate marketplace. Beyond that, it’s just plain fucking offensive to ordinary people. It’s one thing to complain about paying taxes when those taxes are buying a bag of groceries once a month for some struggling single mom in eastern Kentucky. But when your taxes are buying a yacht for some asshole who hires African eight year-olds to pick cocoa beans for two cents an hour … I sure don’t remember reading an excuse for that anywhere in the Federalist Papers.

More information you will not see in your local newspaper or on the news…

Who Is The Enemy?

Quick question to any conservatives reading this site. Your country is “at war.” Leave a comment here and let us know who is “the enemy” we are at war with.
I bet there are as many different answers as there are commenters. Or ask around and see how many of your conservative buddies give different answers to the question. You can’t even tell us who “the enemy” is. Shouldn’t that tell you something?
“Insurgents?” They’re insurging because they object to the people they call “Persians” being put in charge by us. Persian means Iranian. Was it your understanding that Iranians are the people we invaded to put in charge? And the Sunnis we are fighting are backed by the Saudis, among others – our “allies” in the region.
Is the enemy Mutada al Sadr? He’s Shiite, and a part of the government we installed.
Et cetera. You get the picture.
Or did you not know about Shiites and Sunnis and the differences when you started this thing?

Today’s Housing Bubble Post – Roof Falling?

Is the Roof Falling on Housing?,

It was not particularly surprising to most housing market observers that January starts fell from their December levels. But what did have the market abuzz was the magnitude of the drop. With a 14.3% decline to a seasonally adjusted rate of just 1.408 million units — versus December’s revision to 1.643 million units — the housing activity level for the first month of 2007 was the lowest in nearly a decade.
Not since August 1997 has construction been begun on fewer haciendas in the United States. Indeed, the magnitude of the drop-off has more than a few observers questioning whether the nation’s current housing slump actually will last longer than recently has been anticipated.

Other news:

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