Monday, November 24, 2008


I paid $1.84 for a gallon of gas at COSTCO today ... they're up to something ... gas hasn't been this low since ... 1998???

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yet Another "SCREW YOU" From Bush!!!

This is from yesterday's (11/10/08) Progress Report ... can't Dubya just go on vacation in Crawford for the next two and a half months and just disappear??? ... hasn't he destroyed America and The World enough???:

Bush Rolls Back Regulations

Having promised to "sprint to the finish" of his second term and "to remain focused on the goals ahead," President Bush is "working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules" aimed at protecting workers, consumers and the environment, the Washington Post reports. "The administration wants to leave a legacy," said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, "but across the board it means less protection for the public." Indeed, the Bush administration is implementing over 90 new regulations which "would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo." The wide array of new regulations includes proposals to undercut outpatient Medicaid services, weaken the Endangered Species Act, and allow increased emissions from older power plants. In some instances, the administration has allowed federal agencies to circumvent public feedback methods by limiting the period for public comment, "not allowing e-mailed or faxed comments or scheduling public hearings." Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama, meanwhile, "have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies." The kind of regulations they are looking at are those imposed by Bush for "overtly political" reasons, said Dan Mendelson, a former associate administrator for health in the Clinton administration's Office of Management and Budget.

CUTTING BACK MEDICAID: On Friday, the very same day that the Department of Labor announced that the U.S. unemployment rate is at a 14-year high of 6.5 percent, Bush "narrowed the scope of services that can be provided to poor people under Medicaid's outpatient hospital benefit." The new regulation arrives at a time when states are considering limiting Medicaid eligibility and Americans are losing their jobs -- and by extension, employer health benefits. According to the Kaiser Foundation, a 1 percent increase in unemployment results in 1 million more people enrolling in Medicaid and the State's Children's Health Insurance Program, and another 1.1 million more people becoming uninsured. Public hospitals and state officials immediately protested Bush's proposed action, saying it would "reduce Medicaid payments to many hospitals at a time of growing need," the New York Times reports. Ann Clemency Kohler, the executive director of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors, said that "the new rule is a pretty sweeping change from longtime Medicaid policy. Since the beginning of the program, states have been allowed to define hospital outpatient services. We have to question why the rule is being issued now, three days after the election, with a new administration coming in."

GUTTING ENDANGERED SPECIES: In what would be the biggest change to Endangered Species Act since 1998, the Bush administration wants to allow federal agencies "to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants." Currently, federal agencies are required to consult with an independent agency -- the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the National Marine Fisheries Service -- to determine whether a project would harm an endangered species. As Sharon Guynup of the Baltimore Sun points out, "[T]aking wildlife experts out of the equation eliminates the checks and balances that have kept the [Chesapeake] bay's bald eagles, shortnose sturgeon, Delmarva fox squirrels, piping plovers and other rare creatures from disappearing" and would only encourage agencies to "revert to pre-Endangered Species Act tactics of cutting big projects into a series of small ones that fall under the radar." The draft rules also would also "bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats," the AP reports.

INCREASING POLLUTION: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working on regulations that would allow increased emissions from older power plants while also rolling back existing air quality regulations for national parks and wilderness areas. While "the Clean Air Act requires older plants that have their lives extended with new equipment to install pollution-control technology if their emissions increase," Bush's proposed rule would "allow plants to measure emissions on an hourly basis, rather than their total yearly output. This way, plants could run for more hours and increase overall emissions without exceeding the threshold that would require additional pollution controls," McClatchy reports. The industry-friendly rule -- which the administration tried to implement in 2003, before it "was vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in July"-- is now being opposed by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson and Robert Meyers, the assistant administrator in charge of air issues. According to McClatchy, "the EPA official said that concerns in the agency were that the analysis justifying the rule change was weak and the administration didn't plan to make the analysis public for a comment period, as is customary." Three computer models, released by the EPA, have also shown that the proposed rule "would increase carbon dioxide emissions by 74 million tons annually," "roughly equivalent to the total annual CO2 emissions of about 14 average coal-fired power plants."

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Men weeping with joy ... that's how I can sum up Barrack Obama's Presidential win on Tuesday ... I was weeping after they announced the win at 8pm PST ... three other Democratic men I've spoken to/e-mailed with told me they cried as well ... words can't describe how happy I am about this!!!


Book Banning at the Book Fair!!!

This past Monday The Wife volunteered me to work the Book Fair (sponsored by Scholastic) at The Boy's school ... I reported to the Woman In Charge of it around 8am and asked what I could do ... she told me to restock and straighten out the books on all the shelves around the room ... I was busy restocking books from cardboard boxes of books under the tables ... I came upon the book "The Golden Compass - The Story of the Movie" in one of the boxes ... I scanned the shelves and could not find where its spot was ... I asked the Woman In Charge where this book was on the shelve so I could see if I needed to put more out ... she said, "I decided not to put that book out" ... I asked, "Why aren't you putting it out???" ... "she said, "I'm not putting it out for personal reasons" ... I glanced at what was hanging around her neck ... a cross ... I was in the presence of a christian BOOK BANNER!!!

I remembered the controversy over the movie "The Golden Compass" when it came out ... this is what's posted on Wikipedia about the controversy:

Several key themes of the novels, such as the rejection of religion and the abuse of power in a fictionalised version of the Catholic Church, were diluted in the adaptation. Director Weitz said "in the books the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic Church gone wildly astray from its roots", but that the organization portrayed in his film would not directly match that of Pullman's books. Instead, the Magisterium represents all dogmatic organizations. Weitz said that New Line Cinema had feared the story's anti-religious themes would make the film financially unviable in the U.S., and so religion and God ("the Authority" in the books) would not be referenced directly.

Attempting to reassure fans of the novels, Weitz said that religion would instead appear in euphemistic terms, yet the decision was criticised by some fans, anti-censorship groups, and the National Secular Society (of which Pullman is an honorary associate), which said "they are taking the heart out of it, losing the point of it, castrating it..." and "this is part of a long-term problem over freedom of speech." The Atlantic Monthly said also "With $180 million at stake, the studio opted to kidnap the book’s body and leave behind its soul." The changes from the novel have been present since Tom Stoppard's rejected version of the script, and Pullman expected the film to be "faithful" although he also said "They do know where to put the theology and that’s off the film." A Christianity Today review of the film noted that "'magisterium' does refer, in the real world, to the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church, and the film [is] peppered with religiously significant words like 'oblation' and 'heresy'", adding that when one character smashes through the wall of a Magisterium building, the damaged exterior is "decorated with [Christian] Byzantine icons."

On October 7, 2007 the Catholic League called for a boycott of the film. League president William A. Donohue said he would not ordinarily object to the film, but that while the religious elements are diluted from the source material, the film will encourage children to read the novels, which he says denigrate Christianity and promote atheism for kids. He cited Pullman telling the Washington Post in 2001 that he is trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief. The League hoped that "the film [would fail] to meet box office expectations and that [Pullman's] books attract few buyers," declaring the boycott campaign a success after a North American opening weekend which was lower than anticipated. One week after the film's release, Roger Ebert said of the campaign, "any bad buzz on a family film can be mortal, and that seems to have been the case this time."

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, agreed that the broad appeal of the film was a dangerous lure to the novels, which he criticized for carrying a clear agenda to expose what [Pullman] believes is the tyranny of the Christian faith" and for "[providing] a liberating mythology for a new secular age." The Rev. Denny Wayman of the Free Methodist Church made the assertion that The Golden Compass is a "film trying to preach an atheistic message." Other evangelical groups, such as The Christian Film and Television Commission, adopted a "wait-and-see" approach to the film before deciding upon any action,[42] as did the Roman Catholic Church in Britain. Some religious scholars have challenged the view that the story carries atheistic themes while in November 2007, a review of the film by the director and staff reviewer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting appeared on the website of the Catholic News Service and in Catholic newspapers across the country. The review suggested that instead of a boycott, it may be appropriate for Catholic parents to "talk through any thorny philosophical issues" with their children. However, on December 10, 2007 the review was removed from the website at the USCCB's request. On December 19, 2007, the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published an editorial in which it denounced the film as godless.

Pullman said of Donohue's call for a boycott, "Why don't we trust readers? Why don't we trust filmgoers? Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world." In a discussion with Donohue on CBS's Early Show, Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, said that rather than promote atheism, the film would encourage children to question authority, saying that would not be a bad thing for children to learn. Director Weitz says that he believes His Dark Materials is "not an atheistic work, but a highly spiritual and reverent piece of writing", and Nicole Kidman defended her decision to star in the film, saying that "I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic". Some commentators indicated that they believed both sides' criticism would prove ultimately impotent and that the negative publicity would prove a boon for the film's box office.

After she said she wasn't putting that book out for personal reasons I didn't even want to be in the same room with her ... my already aching tennis elbow was bothering me so I told her I had to go home and take some painkillers ... I went to vote for Obama after that and then headed home ... all the while the fact that she didn't put this book out bothered me ... I had already planned to take The Kids to the Book Fair after school to pick out a book ... after they picked out what they wanted I yelled across the room to the Woman In Charge, "Hey (her name), where's that book about The Golden Compass???" ... she got a weird look on her face and pointed under the table and said, "It's in one of those boxes" ... I found it and bought it along with what The Kids picked out.

The Woman In Charge had no problem putting out two books about someone in the Hitler Youth.

I was going to make a BIG STINK about this but I don't want The Boy to be embarrassed ... or demonized by others at the school.

BUT, book banning is WRONG!!!

Now I have to move "The Golden Compass" to the top of my Netflix queue.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


It's bad enough that I'm stressed about the election today ... but, STOP ROBO CALLING ME!!! ... I voted this morning and the calls just keep coming in late in the afternoon ... I can't go back and change my vote ... and I'm NOT going to.

I feel so bad about Obama's Grandmother dying on Monday ... I wish she could have hung on long enough to see the man she raised become the Leader of this great country.