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Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:54 PM PDT

Response for Ashley's Grandpa

by mpowers

I got one of those wingnut mass email forwards from my uncle again, but it was too rich to ignore.  So I wasted the better part of an hour composing a response.  Since it's going to be largely lost on my uncle's email friends, and because I haven't posted a diary in a very looong time, I felt compelled to share.  

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Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 05:31 AM PST

Credit Card Bailout? Please?

by mpowers

I was reading my Sunday must-read (Frank Rich) and he had an interesting aside that caught my eye:

As Wall Street titans grabbed bonuses based on illusory, short-term paper profits, so regular Americans took on all kinds of debt wildly disproportionate to their assets and income. The nearly $1 trillion in unpaid credit-card balances is now on deck to be the next big crash.

Which links to this article at the Washington Independent.

"Nearly $1 trillion?"  Add up everyone's credit card debt, and it's not even one trillion?

That used to sound like a lot of money, but didn't we just vote to give that much away to the banks?  And aren't they just sitting on it?

You want a bailout that works? Then let's just have the government pay this off to write down everyone's credit card debt.  

Seriously, is there a reason not to do this?

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Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 05:59 AM PDT

"Factcheck.org verified this message"

by mpowers

Can we please get some ads that start like this:

"This message is approved by Barack Obama and verified by ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, and Factcheck.org."

We all love to see "truth squads" take apart the other side's ads, but they rarely repair the damage done by them.  As we all know, the lie gets around the world before the truth gets its shoes on.  

So how do we bring the truth back to campaign advertising?  Let the media outlets pre-verify campaign ads.  

Release an ad to one or more or all media outlets for the purpose of fact checking the claims.  Let the media critics require changes to words or images before they sign off on the ad.  The more media outlets sign off on an ad, the more credible the message.  

If only a few ads start this way, they instantly stand out from the crowd.  Those ads will be more credible, and implicitly all of the rest will be less credible.  Swiftboat attacks would never get through this filter.  

Moreover, imagine fact-checked and verified ads that point out the lies of the McCain campaigns unverified ads.  That's a double-hit to the McCain's credibility.  And attacking his credibility attacks all of his lies at once.

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Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 08:56 AM PDT

WTF Surly Obama Callers

by mpowers

How did things come to this?  My wife takes a phone call.

Caller: (Young woman's voice) Is Michael there?

(Eyebrow raised.) Can I ask who's calling?

Caller: It's Tiffany B[last name redacted].

(We don't know any Tiffanies.) And what is this about?

Caller: (Pause.) I'm calling from the Obama campaign.

Okay, thank you but we're going to give online.

Caller: Ugh. (Hang up.)

Wikipedia has a spot-on definition this "Ugh":

an onomatopoeiac representation of an aspirated sigh or gasp, used as an interjection to express repugnance, annoyance, aggravation, irritation, disgust, or boredom.

Read on for the full story.

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I've been reading nytimes.com since it launched back in the 90s, so I'm a longtime reader of all of the staples of the grey lady, going back to Safire and Modo.  

While Frank Rich is my hands down favorite, why have I never really thought much of Gail Collins.  And why does she not get as much link love as the others?  She's been absolutely nailing her columns lately, and today she hit the nail on the head on the Willard fiasco.

The Revenge of Seamus

So... has she only recently "found her voice", or have I just been too dense to notice?

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Like a lot of people, I just got this email in my inbox.  I'm not giving them a damn dime nor dollar.  

I doubt anyone reads the inbox at info@johnkerry.com or info@bornfighting.com (my Senator's PAC), so I'm posting the reply I sent here for posterity.

Plus I guess I'm still pissed at Kerry regarding 2004.

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Wherein I reply to a DSCC plea for money.

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We're making a point of doing this tonight during the showing of "Path to 9/11", so I thought I'd pass along the reminder.

Our Tivo season pass list is actually rather lame, but here are the ABC shows we're soon-to-be unsubscribed for:
- Good Morning America (moving to Today show)
- The View (Meridith is on Today now anyway)
- World News Tonight (switching to Brian)
- Lost

Yes, Lost.  

I understand that current episodes are available on Bit Torrent (and in hi-def too!).  I also understand that downloaded content from BT has no advertisements and cannot be tracked by Neilsen or any other popularity ratings.   Just a friendly observation.

Discuss
I know it's been talked about here and there, but we really need to make a stand at the Capitol during the State of the Union address. (The date isn't set, but it's usually late Jan.) I know there are efforts afoot. Here is what I'd like to see:

Flag-wavers: It's time we showed them what the flag is all about. Bring your flags and hold them, wave them, raise them high. I want to see a see a sea of flags on all sides of the Capitol. Patriotic and stern defenders of the Republic. Candles are a good idea too.

Issues: Bring a big sign with the one-word issue that matters most to you. "ANWR", "OSAMA", "DEFICIT", "HALLIBURTON", "KYOTO", "PLAMEGATE", "KATRINA", "SPYING", "BROWNIE", "WMD", "RESIGN", or the increasingly popular "IMPEACH". More than a single word is lost to the media, IMHO.

Stone soup: No one owns this. While we desperately need every organization and celebrity to be there and add their voice to the mix, there can be no official spokesperson or sponsor. It has be bigger than that so Fox can't make a caricature. Think flash mob.
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