Saturday, January 28, 2006 

The more you fear death, the more likely you'll vote Republican

I fear Republican policies will cause my death, where does that put me? (According to this article - I am looking for a strong charismatic democratic leader) :-)
A little dated but still relevant article:

...Molly Maxfield conducted an experiment that will appear in the December 2004 issue of Psychological Science, in which students were asked to think about their own death or a control topic and then read campaign statements purportedly written by three political candidates in an upcoming gubernatorial election. The candidates varied in leadership style. The charismatic leader stated: "You are not just an ordinary citizen, you are part of a special state and a special nation." The task-oriented leader stated: "I can accomplish all the goals that I set out to do. I am very careful in laying out a detailed blueprint of what needs to be done so that there is no ambiguity." The relationship-oriented leader stated: "I encourage all citizens to take an active role in improving their state. I know that each individual can make a difference."

After reading these statements, participants selected the candidate they would vote for in an election. Results were striking. After thinking about a control topic, only four of 95 participants voted for the charismatic candidate, with the rest of the votes split evenly between the task and relationship oriented leaders. However, following a reminder of death, there was almost an 800 percent increase in votes for the charismatic leader (31); votes for the task-oriented leader were unaffected, but the relationship-oriented leader's votes significantly declined...

Do reminders of mortality increase the appeal of such a leader? Studies published in the September 2004 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggest that they do. In Study 1, a mortality salience induction dramatically increased support for President Bush and his policies in Iraq. In Study 2, subliminal reminders of 9/11 or the World Trade Center increased the accessibility of implicit thoughts of death; for Americans then, even non-conscious intimations of the events of 9/11 arouse concerns about mortality. Accordingly, in Study 3 participants were asked to think about death, the events of 9/11, or a benign control topic; both mortality and 9/11 salience produced substantial increases in support for President Bush among liberal as well as conservative participants. Finally, in Study 4, whereas participants rated John Kerry more favorably than George Bush after thinking about being in intense pain, after a reminder of death, evaluations of Bush increased and Kerry decreased, such that Bush was more favorably evaluated than Kerry...

it is a matter of public record that President Bush's re-election campaign has been carefully crafted to emphasize the war on terrorism and domestic security, the strategic use of fear to advance political agendas has a long history in American politics (all politics for that matter) and is by no means confined to the Republican Party.

However, the fact that a subtle, brief manipulation of psychological conditions (asking people to think about their own death or the events of 9/11) produced such striking differences in political preferences (for charismatic leaders in general and President Bush in particular) suggests that close elections could be decided as a result of non-rational terror management concerns. We'd like to think that Americans across the political spectrum would agree that this is antithetical to the democratic ideal that voting behavior should be the result of rational choice based on an informed understanding of the relevant issues. National elections are no guarantee against totalitarian outcomes.

The best antidote to this problem may be to monitor and take pains to resist any efforts by candidates to capitalize on fear-mongering.

I think this points out why the Republicans continue to use terror threats & fear mongering to win support. ( Is there anyone left who truly believes all of the "orange alerts" before the election weren't greatly exaggerated and over dramaticized to trump up support for the sitting president? )

There will be a tipping point, when people will realize that the Republicans agenda has only made us less safe, that American citizens have been used and manipulated. Hopefully, a strong democratic leader will be charismatic enough to expose the unethical fear mongering of the other party.

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Friday, January 27, 2006 

Sluggish private job growth indicates failure of tax cuts

Republican economic policy consists of an expansion of government jobs financed by loans from the Communist Peoples Republic of China.

Via Economic Policy Inst:
Sluggish private job growth indicates failure of tax cuts
Changes in tax law since 2001 reduced federal government revenue by $870 billion through September 2005. Supporters of these tax cuts have touted them as great contributors to growth in jobs and pay. But, in reality, private-sector job growth since 2001 has been disappointing, and a closer look at the new jobs created shows that federal spending—not tax cuts—are responsible for the jobs created in the past five years...
Thanks to MaxSpeak.

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US Army Kidnapping Wives As Tactic

From Yahoo:

The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife."

We also kidnap thier children, whom sometimes end up getting raped and tortured in front of cameras for leverage against thier suspected insurgents parents. I am sure this helps us win over the next generation of Iraqis and persuades average Iraqi citizens to work for our brand of democracy. Yeah. Well, at least it help us prevent future terrorist activity. No? Well then it has helped us hunt down the mastermind of 9/11? Hmm...

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Meet the Bloggers Drama

I have never attended a MTB event. They sound like a great idea, whenever you can get people who care about community & politics together and you also get to meet candidates - Yippee. Can't hurt, can it?

Well, maybe it can. Lately, on the local blogs, it seems there has been a lot of conversation about LL who, I guess, would like to participate in MTB. First off, it has always seemed to me that MTB was open to all NEO bloggers. I thought ALL implied progressive, conservative or somewhere in between - so why not just show up to an event. That's what I would have done (and plan to one day) and I would have expected to encounter bloggers that I might not always agree with - both (R) and (D). So, the fact that there is a conversation is kinda weird to me. (If you want to participate - just show up - simple - no drama.)

But, the curious thing about the conversation that has evolved is that when one progressive blogger expressed concern that including an obvious right-winger into the fold and the ramifications this could have on the MTB community (shouting, name calling, content, ect). The right-winger decided to resort to name calling, and says he can't handle the cultural divide and the weird part is that it looked like the majority of the MTB community (George, Tim, Jill, Ohio 2nd and others) was opening thier arms to the idea of finding ways to include more conservatives including LL. The weirder part is the negative comments went on to include potential MTB speakers/guests. Now - If you really want to participate, you are going to encounter people who disagree with you and there is no reason to belittle MTB guests. Did he think everyone was going to just roll over and say "great, yeah he's right"? Did he think he would automatically get to choose the speakers? If you ask for permission from a large community, someone is bound to play the devils advocate, didn't he anticipate that?

But - I have a feeling, LL didn't really want to participate in MTB (his own goals state he is "looking for way to PUSH the conservative pov"), that maybe - he just wanted to syphon a little traffic from the more popular blogs that just happen to be liberal and perhaps create a little controversy where he could shout down progressives. It sounds just like the script of his favorite show, "Hannity and Colmes" . (LL - In case you actually don't realize, Colmes isn't trying to convince anyone of anything. He is Hannitys prop. Nothing more, Nothing less.)

As far as MTB including more conservatives, the MTB page should plainly express that it is open to all NEO bloggers. If conservatives want to show up, they can and I expect, eventually, they will. (None of this extra drama needed.)

PS: I wish I could have made it to the fundraiser. It looks like everyone had a lot of fun. Maybe next time :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 

Political Films at Cinematheque

This weekend the Cinematheque shows four political movies:

THE 3 ROOMS OF MELANCHOLIA, showing Thursday, January 26 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, January 29, 2006 at 9:10 pm, is a three-part portrait of people (mostly women and children) living in the midst of war. This new Finnish film's three segments deal with (1) a regimented Russian military academy for pre-adolescent cadets from broken, dysfunctional homes; (2) the bombed-out Chechen city of Grozny; and (3) an orphanage for abused, abandoned Chechen children. Pat Aufderheide in In These Times has called the movie "a masterpiece...A profound meditation on the cost of war." Tickets $8.

THE CONFORMIST, showing Friday, January 27 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, January 28 at 9:30 pm, is Bernardo Bertolucci's classic dissection of fascist behavior in pre-WWII Italy. Jean-Louis Trintignant stars in this powerful drama, seen here in a gorgeous new 35mm print with English subtitles.
Tickets $8.

EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, showing Saturday, January 28 at 7:40 pm, is Jean-Luc Godard's seminal 1980 meditation on sex, capitalism, and the cinema. Isabelle Huppert and Nathalie Baye star in this subtitled film. Tickets $8.

THE RULES OF THE GAME, showing Monday, January 30 at 7:00 pm, is Jean Renoir's celebrated portrait of pre-WWII French society. This classic movie, often voted the second best movie of all time (behind CITIZEN KANE), will be introduced by Tom Bishop of Case. He will also lead a post-film discussion. Tickets $10.

For More Info:
Tel 216/421-7450
Fax 216/754-3632


Tuesday, January 24, 2006 

Americablog: A Tale of Two Sentences..

War Protester Sentenced to 6 Months for Damaging Recruiting Station


No Prison Time for Soldier Held in Iraqi's Death

Completely ripped off from AmericaBlog. Go there to read the rest of Aravosis witty and inciteful posts. Now. :-)


Georgetown Law students turn back on Gonzales

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Hooded protesters turned to one of America's founding fathers for their rebuttal of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' case for domestic spying without warrants. Twenty-two protesters, including four holding a sign quoting Benjamin Franklin, stood with their backs to him as he told an audience at Georgetown Law School that the program was designed "to detect and prevent the next attack on the United States." Via CNN


Fingerhut Disappointment

Via: The Times-Reporter and Renee in Ohio
Dean: “The cost of corruption is real to Ohioans, and it’s real to Americans, and we’re going to put an end to that,”

Fingerhut: State Sen. Eric Fingerhut of Cleveland, also running for governor, said he was insulted by a Washington politician coming to Ohio to talk about corruption.

“People know what’s happening in the Statehouse. They don’t need Howard Dean to come and tell them that,” Fingerhut said.
Fingerhut is wrong, people need to be reminded that the Culture of Corruption starts with Ohio and hurts Ohio. I wonder how many people actually know who Ney is (our the other corrupt R's in our great state) and what he did that was so wrong? I imagine few - maybe they have some shadowy idea but - that's it. Our democratic leaders need to:
  • Educate the population about the Culture of Corruption that the Republicans have made for themselves
  • Demonstrate how the Democrats are different
  • What are the Dems doing to prevent the corruption from continuing?
  • How are the Dems going to stop corruption from happening from within their party, if they are elected?
They don't expect us to just vote for them on blind faith do they? Well, maybe I will - but that won't win you Ohio :-)

Even if Fingerhut is trying to differentiate himself from Strickland and other Ohio Dems (as YellowDogSammy suggests), this is the wrong way. I think he probably lost more than he gained as the only Democrats who might be generous to an anti-Dean statement are most likely already in the Strickland camp for other reasons. I like Fingerhut but this statement is weak and disappointing.

A lot more info at DailyKos:"Thoughts on the Ohio governor's race"

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The Fourth Admendment & Wiretapping by the Bush Administration

Here's the Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. "

A new Gallup poll released Monday showed that 51% of Americans said the administration was wrong to intercept conversations involving a party inside the U.S. without a warrant. In response to another question, 58% said they support the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the program.

Heck yeah - we need a special prosecuter for this and about 2 dozen other illegal activites going on inside the this adminstration and the Republican held congress. I won't be holding my breath. See this article for more info - "Defending Spy Program, General Reveals Shaky Grip on 4th Amendment" This one is good too - McCain: Bush Does Not Have “The Legal Authority To Engage In These Warrantless Wiretaps

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Doctors Remove Woman's Arms, Legs After Giving Birth

What the heck is happening at CCF Florida?
A Florida woman went to the hospital eight and a half months ago to deliver her son, but she'll never be able to hold him. Claudia Mejia said an Orlando hospital performed life-altering surgery that left her a quadruple amputee, NewsChannel5 reported. She developed an infection shortly after giving birth and doctors amputated both arms and legs. Mejia and her family want to know why, and they aren't getting the answers they want. She is suing the hospital under Florida's "Patient's Right to Know Act."

Via NewsNet5.

Update: 2-10-06
More about methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (the flesh eating bacteria Claudia was infected with), here and here. Snopes discussion about Claudia Mejia case. (more links and updates there).

Monday, January 23, 2006 

FEAR FACTOR: The Terrifying World of the Average Republican

While we are having a laugh - check out this Modern World


The 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005

The Buffalo BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005

A sampling -
17:William Donohue
Charges: If Jesus Christ were alive today, Catholic League president Bill Donohue would regularly call him a faggot in casual conversation. Purports to somehow defend Christianity by attacking nearly everybody on the planet in a perpetual frenzy of hateful, red-faced rage. As far as Donohue is concerned, the main focus of Catholicism is to stamp out homosexuality and Hollywood Jews who “like anal sex.”

Exhibit A: When a liberal blogger posted an “O’Reilly Factor” parody transcript wherein Donohue launches a campaign against responding to sneezes by saying “gesundheit” instead of “God bless you,” many failed to get the joke, because, well, it’s just plain realistic.

Sentence: Actually judged by true Christian god.

15. Karl Rove
Charges: A greasy pig whose only distinction in life is his total lack of decency. Rove is decidedly not a genius; he is simply missing the part of his soul that prevents the rest of us from kicking elderly women in the face. His admirers have elevated fanatical, amoral ambition to the status of a virtue, along with lying, cheating, and negligent homicide, all in the name of “values.” Quite possibly the worst person in the worst White House in American history.

Exhibit A: “As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.”

Sentence: Lowered head first into oil refinery smokestack.

4: YOU!!!!

Read the complete list to find out why you are #4, who is #1 and get a good laugh.


Halliburton gave troops contaminated water & covered it up

Via AP
Troops and civilians at a U.S. military base in Iraq were exposed to contaminated water last year and employees for the responsible contractor, Halliburton, couldn't get their company to inform camp residents, according to interviews and internal company documents.
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Buckeyes to lose licensing due to Blackwells TABOR

You only have to talk to someone living in Colorado to realize TABOR is a horrible idea. The bill sounds good but the implications are far reaching, sticky and eventually leads to a big mess. In Ohio, it seems that the bill is even more poorly worded and would endanger OSU football programs...


Fiscal Irresponsibility: Poorly Worded Language Actually Guts Programs that pay for themselves -- Penalizing Government Programs that Generate Self-Sustaining Revenue.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland today reports that Secretary of State's ballot initiative modeled after Colorado's TABOR/TEL is so poorly worded that it could gut government programs that pay for themselves without tax-supported funds -- and in Ohio the grand-daddy of all state-supported programs is Ohio State Buckeye licensing.

Blackwell has filed a signature petition that currently has the measure headed for the ballot in Ohio in November. His proposal goes farther than the Colorado provision which voters in Colorado voted to temporarily suspend because of the effect on business, government programs and university funding last November.

According to the Plain Dealer, State Sen. Jeff Jacobson, a Dayton-area Republican and former Senate Finance Committee member, said he doubts state lawmakers would cut social programs in favor of college football.

"Either this means state programs get cut or Ohio State's football team goes down the drain," Jacobson said in the Plain Dealer. "I'm not sure why Secretary Blackwell would want to defend either of those outcomes. Both are losing propositions with the voters."

Via: psychobilly dem, BSB and UAPA

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Sunday, January 22, 2006 

TIME mags Klein chimes in on Hackett / Brown primary

TIME Magazine Joe Klein makes stop in Ohio, chimes in on 06 election: It's Easy to Be Hard and Hard to Be Smart

In a Democratic Congressional primary that could have implications for the mid-term elections this Fall, an amateur's bluster squares off against an old political pro


"The republican party has been hijacked by religious fanatics that, in my opinion, aren't a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden and a lot of other religious nuts around the world," said Paul Hackett, a recent Iraq-war combat veteran who is running for the U.S. Senate from Ohio. As you may have surmised, Hackett is a Democrat, and his statement, to the Columbus Dispatch, raised an immediate call by the Ohio G.O.P. for an apology. "I said it," Hackett replied. "I meant it. I stand by it." In fact, he has taken to repeating it at every stop along the campaign trail.

Which sent me hurtling to Ohio last week to check out the first hot contest of the 2006 election, the primary election between Hackett and a traditional lunch-pail-liberal Congressman named Sherrod Brown, which will be decided in a May 2 vote. The winner will meet incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine in the fall. It is a race with national implications—winning Ohio has become the holy grail for Democrats—but it also raises an interesting stylistic question for both parties: Is this one of those "outsider" years when the public rises up and cleans out the Congress? Hackett is, flagrantly, an amateur; Brown first ran for office soon after graduating from Yale in 1974, and he has been running ever since.

I caught up with Hackett—a tall, Hollywood-handsome sort—as he strode into a wings joint just outside Marion. At 43, he is a successful lawyer whose Marine reserve unit was deposited in the toughest part of Iraq, Ramadi and later Fallujah, in August 2004. When he arrived home—indeed, as he was embracing his wife—his best friend told him that the local congressional seat was open and that he should run for it. He did, lost well to the heavily favored Republican Jean Schmidt and received lots of positive national attention. With hardly a breath, he turned around and began his Senate campaign, after some prodding from the national-party hierarchy.

At the wings joint, he approached a small crowd of potential supporters with a combative abrasiveness that made Howard Dean seem like Mister Rogers. "I'm a strong Democrat from the great state of Ohio and damned proud of it," he thundered. "What does the Democratic Party stand for? Limited government. Strong national defense. Fair trade. Fiscal responsibility." Limited government? That was the fun part: "I don't want to send someone to Washington to invade my private life, control what goes on in my kid's school, get involved in the decisions made by my wife and her physician or to find out how many guns there are in Hackett's gun safe." He paused, looking for a reaction from any wussified, gun-hating Dems in the crowd. Finding none, he seemed lost. He didn't rise to his preferred state of indignation until the question period, when he was asked about Iraq. "The war is over. Bring 'em home. The war on terrorism is a war of ideas. We have a saying in the Marines: It's easy to be hard and hard to be smart."

Actually, Hackett's campaign is a vivid demonstration of that old Marine saying. His next stop was a meeting of College Democrats at the University of Toledo—earnest young people who seemed omegas to Hackett's very alpha alpha—and he got into their faces early and often. He said gun control was his big difference with Brown, but it was hard to tell: Hackett had only a vague familiarity with most of the other issues. He was stumped by illegal immigration and came up with a crude prescription: "Send 'em back if we can afford it." In the end, Hackett seemed something new under the sun: a blogger candidate—all attitude, all opinions, very little information. Sherrod Brown is not exactly a shrinking violet. He is a defiant opponent of free trade and a defender of blue-collar unionism.

"Anyone who calls me a demagogue on trade knows about one-tenth as much about trade as I do," he said as we wandered through southern Ohio. I joked that he was more an "ambulatory anachronism" than a demagogue, which occasioned a passionate blast against media elitists like me and a terrific argument about trade. What can I say? We really hit it off. Brown was quite the opposite of Hackett on the stump: he asked people questions about their lives, listened carefully to their answers—and answered their questions, about unsexy issues like the Medicare prescription-drug plan, in detail and with respect. Many of those people were unemployed or about to be. There was a real intimacy with the candidate, whom they called Sherrod. It was the most basic sort of politics—an unintended reproach to political professionals who tend to fall for flashy war heroes, and to flashy war heroes who insult the public by thinking they can run for office without taking the issues seriously in a dead-serious time.

Well - Klein definitely favors Sherrod Browns substance and experience. But - don't discount flash and soundbites unfortunately - these alone can easily win you a race. Also a few pro-gun, anti-immigration stances will most likely play well in the red counties. (Heck, - they don't even sound half bad to me.) They won't however, win my 87 yr old nana over - she still favorably remembers a phone call from Sherrod from probably 20 years ago. She reminisced on "what a nice gentlemen he was" and how "he listened and responded to all of her concerns". Are there enough people like my Nana and will it be enough to turn the red counties? Is Hacketts boldness enough to redefine the Ohio Democrats and help them identify with mods and independents? I guess, those are the million dollar questions.

Me? Well, I still think it is too early to jump in and make a decision. They are both good candidates. They both should make good senators. I do wonder which style will more effectively beat DeWine and set that winning pace for future Democrats.

Having a blog may make one feel compelled to jump into one court or another to make a statement but - I know, I just need to see this thing out a little further before I can make a good decision. So - for now - count HeightsMom as still undecided.

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Why the Left is Right - Liberal Quotes

Any President who maintains that he is above the law - and
repeatedly violates the law - thereby commits high crimes and
misdemeanors, the constitutional standard for impeachment and
removal of office.
-- Elizabeth Holtzman

The voices of proud Americans on the left side of the political
spectrum are muted. Occasionally, they will appear on Fox and other
stations as guests, but they are like the dolls in the carnival
booth on the midway. They are there to have objects thrown at them
for the amusement of the onlookers.
-- Phil Donahue

From the book The Best Liberal Quotes Ever - Why the Left is Right.