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bito On December - 2 - 2010

Your Response is Invited!

With over 13,200 comments on O/T, we have to do a little house cleaning and begin a new and improved O/T Post.  The sever, right now, has to retrieve all of them, each and  every time.  Every 13,000!  Whew!!

However, this time there will be rules!!  Read carefully!!





You know the rules, now follow them!  Please?

Are you more knowledgeable than the average citizen? The average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the following test was 49%; college educators scored 55%. Can you do better? Questions were drawn from past ISI surveys, as well as other nationally recognized exams.

The following questions were taken from the 2008 Civic Literacy exam.

Take the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) Civics Quiz

Written by bito

Was once a handsome frog until kissed by an ugly corporate princess.----- Like a well honed knife, the internet can be a wonderful and useful tool. It can be used to prepare and serve a delicious meal or it can be used to cause harm. peace

643 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:


    The House passed DADT repeal: 250-175


    AND --

    Vote shows enough votes for ratification of START


    And my favorite --

    Harry Reid tells Republicans to stop whining about having to work over the holidays!


    • bito says:

      Articles about the environment are hit harder by such tactics than any others. I love debate, and I often wade into the threads beneath my columns. But it’s a depressing experience, as instead of contesting the issues I raise, many of those who disagree bombard me with infantile abuse, or just keep repeating a fiction, however often you discredit it. This ensures that an intelligent discussion is almost impossible -- which appears to be the point.

    • BigDogMom says:

      Hey Javaz, thanks for the link, great article. I have long suspected that right-wing paid trolls inhabit most of the major blogs and political internet sites, HP being one of the major ones.

      This coordinated effort by the right, groups such as Sam Adams Alliance and American Majority, to dumb down the political conversation on sites just scares me to death. It’s as if they are everywhere now, have gained a foothold and cannot be stopped.

      Even on AOL, which I have for my businesses e-mail, when you read the comment section of even the most benign story, the right wing hate mongering rhetoric being posted by some, seems to just take over the whole board.

      It is so frustrating at times, I feel as if all that is good and fair in this world is being overrun by these maniacs who want to beat into submission anyone who doesn’t fall into their way of thinking….1930’s Germany all over again.

      • AdLib says:

        Hey BDM, how nice to see you!

        There has been a concerted and financed effort for RW trolls to take over the most visible blogging under news stories.

        Just as toxic as the comments under AOL stories, are the rampant racism and hatred in comments below Yahoo stories.

        Is this just a coincidence that those representing a very small minority of Americans dominate public comments under the main news sites?

        For the corporate GOP, it is like a dog marking territory and a quest to assert that their fringe is actually mainstream.

        Sadly, it has worked to a degree, with the MSM representing the Tea Party as a mainstream group when it is openly provable that it is a coalition financed by the GOP (FreedomWorks, Kochs, etc.) and has attracted witches, racists and homophobes. That is the “center” of American politics?

        This sham will be exposed over the next two years of abuse of power by the Repubs in the House.

        • BigDogMom says:

          Hey Adlib, I hope you are right in saying that this sham will be exposed over the next two yrs, it’s so frustrating to watch even the local nightly news…even that has a right slant to it!

          I have been having an ongoing fight with a rightwing troll who posts in the online comment section of our local newspaper…lord he is hateful. Just recently, I have noticed that others have been following suit and going at him with facts and pointing out the obsurdity of his posts…so that gives me hope that these fools will be drowned out one day!

      • javaz says:

        Hey BDM!
        Great to see you!

        Yesterday, Yahoo ran an article about Minnesota and the ratio of 1:3 Somali people living there.

        The comments were unreal with people laughing about Minnesota being a ‘liberal’ state.

        Now, is Minnesota a ‘liberal’ state with Pawlenty and Bachman?

        (I can’t find the link.)

        • BigDogMom says:

          Great to be here today too!

          Minnesota is about as liberal as I’m the Queen of England..pfffttt!

          These twit trolls really need to get a real job!

  2. javaz says:

    Fun times -- because it worked so well with Gingrich --

    Republicans to shut-down government?

    Republican and Democratic leaders are now engaged in a brinksmanship that could result in a temporary shutdown of the federal government. After the election, Republicans voted among themselves to eschew all earmarks for two years, and now they have to make good on their pledge. Yesterday, Democrats’ chief appropriator, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) unveiled what’s known as an omnibus spending bill — a bundled up package of appropriations legislation, earmarks, and other measures — which would keep the government running for a year.

    In response, most Republicans — even those whose multimillion dollar earmark requests are included in the legislation — are saying, “Hell no you can’t!”

    And it gets even better -- a BIG thank you to Jim DeMint!

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who led the GOP’s anti-earmark crusade, will use the rules of Senate procedure to force the 2000-page omnibus to be read allowed on the Senate floor — a tactic which could eat up enough time to force the Democrats’ hand.


    Too bad they can’t lock the Senate doors and make all the Senators listen to Jim DeMint reading up to 72 hours!

    • bito says:

      Wonder how much support he will get from his fellow R’s on this tactic?

      Reid warned yesterday that he’ll bring the Senate back after Christmas to address unfinished work in the lame duck session, such as the START treaty, DREAM Act, and DADT repeal. While Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) called such plans “disrespectful” to Congress and Christians, Reid said “Congress ends Jan. 4″ and “we’re going to continue working on this stuff until we get it done.”

      • javaz says:

        B’ito, here’s something that I always wonder about when anyone uses the ‘disrespectful to Christians’ or similar rhetoric.

        If this is such a Christian nation, why aren’t religious folks outraged that nearly every store in the country is open on Sunday?

        Do you remember when everything was closed on Sunday?

        I remember my dad driving to the gas station and filling up the tank on Saturday nights, so that we’d have a full tank for Sunday.

        And there are stores open on Christmas Day, fast food places, gas stations etc -- where is Kyl’s outrage over that?

        Plus, doesn’t Kyl realize that many people must work the day after Christmas and the entire week until New Years Day?

        Where’s Kyl’s outrage over that?

        I suppose the answer is that Kyl and other Christians who play the victim-card about holidays and Sunday, is that it’s all faux outrage and political theater.
        Either that, or it’s hypocrisy.

  3. bito says:

    This is quite interesting. The NYT has taken the U.S Census American Community Survey data and put it in an interactive map.


    Just type in your Zip code.

    • javaz says:

      Good morning, B’ito!

      Sorry to say that I cannot view it -- need to update flashplayer and there’s no way to do that with dial-up.

      But I am curious about the census figures in my area.
      I do believe the population in my area triples when the snowbirds come into town and I always wonder if the snowbirds list their main residence as here or from where they are from.
      It seems that during elections in November that polling places are quite crowded compared to other times.

  4. boomer1949 says:

    Okay, I heard the rumors, but must have been in denial. Just turned on Nova/PBS and saw DAVID KOCH listed in the credits as a freakin’ “sponsor”?


    Please accept my apology for screaming fellow Planeteers, it’s nothing personal. However, each and everyone of us should be outraged and, if we don’t cut these guys off at the knees (or at least make it painful), well personally, I don’t want to live the rest of my life under the thumb of someone close to my age, dictating how I should live my life; the only difference is these guys are multibillionaires and my ex-husband was/is not.

    • Questinia says:

      They also sponsor Sloan Fettering even though Monsanto makes formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. They also donate a TON to Lincoln Center. They play both sides financially but they are only on one side politically and ideologically.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      That’s what I’ve gone bonkers about-- this endless stream of Reich wing supremacy!

      This is exactly the sort of story that I’ve been ranting about!

      It is this cumulative effect. To me, it relates to the tax deal and why I think this was my breaking point. The deal—taken in a vacuum, and on its merits—is not bad. I have read some of the most progressiv­e economists and pundits explain the good it could do to stimulate and also how hard it would be for people without tax relief.

      But it is not in a vacuum. It is the aggregate! Every day we read more and more items where we see the people we rightfully condemn as repugnant winning every debate, blocking everything as if they ruled, and framing every discussion successful­ly. Not because they have any facts or have any morals, but just hijacking all reason. My God, they freakin won the House!

      They insult the President, and by extension, the millions of people who voted for him. They propose a corporate take-over of our country; they want to dismantle all the hard-fough­t progress we have made the past 60 years—and they seem to be WINNING.

      They have everything in place: Dozens of think tanks with communicat­ions facilities­, framing experts, training institutes­, a national roster of speakers, booking agents to books their speakers in the media and civic groups and owned medias like Fox and a great deal of talk radio. They have the uber-rich supporting them. We are at such an obvious disadvantage.

      So, even if this deal is actually good for the Middle Class and the economy, politicall­y it isn’t, for some of us. Because we are at the end of our ropes, watching as the Right seems to constantly win every single issue. It is beyond frustratin­g, and has driven me mad. (Can’t you tell?)

  5. bito says:

    Remapping Debate (on the Planet’s BlogRoll) has an excellent interview posted this week.

    Jacob Hacker is co-author of the recently published “Winner-Take-All Politics.” Remapping Debate sat down with him to discuss how and why corporations and wealthy individuals have been so successful since the 1970s — during both Democratic and Republican administrations — in vindicating their interests to the detriment of the vast majority of Americans. Part 1 of the interview is below. Parts 2 and 3 are on the pages that follow. The balance of the interview will be published on Dec. 21.

    Jacob Hacker on winner-takes-all-politics

  6. javaz says:

    Sarah Palin was correct about the ‘death panels’ but wrong about Obama’s HIR bill being the culprit.

    Arizona Governor Brewer replies to British reporter’s question about cuts in Medicaid --

    Brewer is no stranger to sacrificing the welfare of vulnerable constituents for a buck. But this particularly callous dogma made enough waves across the pond to bring Britain’s Channel 4 News Washington correspondent Sarah Smith to her doorstep.
    I managed to “doorstep” her as we call it in TV – i.e. I caught her at a public event and just started asking questions, uninvited.

    “How many people have to die before you are prepared to reverse your decision on the transplant operations?” seemed like the obvious question.

    She said she thought that was unfair and started to explain how dire the state’s financial situation is. If people are so worried about the transplant patients then they should ask the federal government in Washington to send us more money, she said. But she would not explain to me, or to any Democrats in the state capitol, what she has done with the nearly $200 million she was already given in ‘stimulus funds’ to spend on anything she liked.

    While suggesting that Arizonans should request more federal funding, Brewer openly vilifies a law — the Affordable Care Act — that provides exactly that. The health care law’s Medicaid expansion will foot 100 percent of the bill for states to expand until 2016 and 90 percent after 2020. However, to receive this funding, states have to maintain current eligibility levels in Medicaid and CHIP, something Brewer does not wish to maintain. And despite being well-aware of Arizona’s need for the health care law’s financial support, Brewer remains an outspoken champion of its full-scale repeal. In other words, Brewer is telling transplant advocates to ask for a helping hand she fully intends to bite.


    How many more people must die before Arizonans wake-up?

    Medicaid costs are shared by the federal and state governments. It’s not just the poor and disabled who benefit. Wealthier people do, too, such as when middle-class families with elderly parents in nursing homes are relieved of financial pressure after Medicaid starts picking up the bills.

    Contrary to stereotype, it’s the elderly and disabled who cost nearly 70 cents of every Medicaid dollar, not the single mother and her children.


    • Chernynkaya says:

      “While suggesting that Arizonans should request more federal funding…”

      And that’s another thing: The Repubs are constantly lying that, “All Governors must balance their state budgets. They can’t run deficits, the way the federal government does!”

      BS. When the governors run out of money, they go begging to the Feds and get funds. Their senators do it for them too. why does NO ONE ever debunk that dishonest talking point?

      (Hi J’avez-- good article!)

      • javaz says:

        Hey Cher!

        Good to see you!

        I’ve been thinking about you and the wonderful articles that you wrote last year explaining Hanukkah and the dreidel!

    • bito says:


      This needs to be read by everyone in Arizona. Very good re-post!

      This portion is often unreported.

      Contrary to stereotype, it’s the elderly and disabled who cost nearly 70 cents of every Medicaid dollar, not the single mother and her children.

      • javaz says:

        B’ito, you know how it is though.
        People only see and believe what they want to see and believe.

        Like when Sharron Angle was running against Reid and she denied saying certain stupidities and when shown the actual videotape, she still denied it!

        When the above article was printed on Yahoo, several of the comments accused the writers of being LIBERAL and LIARS.

        I’m not sure what it’s going to take for people to wake up to reality.

        I’ve another example of voter-ignorance --
        In Pinal County, Babeu’s brother ran and won Justice of the Peace.
        A couple weeks back, the little local paper ran an article that stated that the new Justice Babeu must recuse himself from several cases, which will cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars because they must bring in an impartial justice.
        People were outraged that they did not know that and that no one told them that.
        The little paper replied to the anger by publishing all the articles that they wrote about the conflict of interest before the election, but people still ignore it and believe it or not, some are even blaming Obama!

        It just doesn’t seem like the truth can win!

  7. boomer1949 says:

    Happy “Furry” Holidays and, I might add, this has happened to me. 😆

  8. javaz says:

    Want to read something truly frightening?


    A worst-case scenario devised by US researchers shows that the American southwest could experience a 60-year stretch of heat and drought unseen since the 12th century.

  9. Khirad says:

    Well, this was a nice positive story which makes me a smidge more optimistic in humans this holiday season.


    Town turns intolerance towards Muslim graves into a teaching moment.

  10. escribacat says:

    Is it just my imagination but has yonder site been completely taken over by childish tr0lls whose actual political beliefs might be left or right — it’s impossible to tell. It’s like a toxic waste dump.

    • boomer1949 says:

      And the reason swearing off, from even reading, is my number one New Year’s resolution.

    • bito says:

      Not to insult toxic waste dumps. 😆

    • kesmarn says:

      Made a brief visit earlier, e’cat, and some of their posts don’t even begin to make sense. They don’t even seem to be trying anymore. Sometimes I wonder if the old story about there being paid trolls is actually true. In which case, they’re definitely slacking…

      Then there are the really in-depth, hard-hitting journalism stories, like the one on pole-dancers.

      • escribacat says:

        I wonder if the paid tr0lls and drunken children have just taken over and chased all the adults away. I drop by there, sling a few insults at the whiners, then flee. They bring out the worst in me!!

  11. bito says:

    A big Tea Party “HELLO” to OH-IO and Wisconsin. We took our country back… back to 1929.

    Tea Party Gov.-Elect Walker Compels Business To Leave State After He Kills High Speed Rail In Wisconsin

    But campaign rhetoric has very real consequences. Last Thursday — on the same day the World Congress for High Speed Rail announced the next HSR Congress will be held in America for the first time — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pulled the funding from Ohio and Wisconsin, offering it instead to states more eager to spur economic development. What’s more, because of Walker’s narrow-minded politics, the Spanish train manufacturing company Talgo, which moved into Wisconsin for this project, is closing its Milwaukee plant and taking the much-needed jobs with it…[…]

    Talgo currently employs 40 people in Milwaukee, WI and “was hoping to grow their staff to as many as 125 to fulfill the orders” that current Gov. Jim Doyle (D) and his administration had made in preparation for the project. Those orders would’ve spurred some 13,000 badly-needed jobs in a state facing a 7.8 percent unemployment rate. (Ohio will lose 16,000 jobs.)

    We don’t need no stinking gub’ment jobs jobs

    • escribacat says:

      Aw, you know those gummint jobs aren’t really REAL jobs.

    • kesmarn says:

      Honestly, b’ito, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

      D’you know what the most depressing aspect of this whole thing is? I would bet my next six figure paycheck that at least 75% of Ohio voters have no idea that this high speed rail plan was ever on the agenda (on the agenda, thanks to Strickland), or that Kasich killed it (but wanted to keep the money and funnel it to his cronies in traditional freight rail), or how many jobs were lost, or that the money will go to some state with voters who have at least two neurons to rub together in their craniums.

      All of it — every bit — slid past their uninformed noses. But they know who won American Idol.

      I’m so mad at the voters in this state right now…. 👿

      • bito says:

        K’es, To steal a line from an old Scandi farmer ” That just makes no earthly sense.” Can you imagine what 16,000 jobs to Ohio would do? Converting some old auto plants into building rail cars, fabricators to out fit them, suppliers, coffee shops, grocery stores, and ……. Just as we have discussed about town losing their main employer, this would have boosted the economy. That is real trickle down economy. Putting money in workers pockets. Do I even need to mention the psychological effect on those unemployed?
        Take my country back… backwards

        • kesmarn says:

          Yes, those 16,000 jobs would have rippled out through the community to boost how many other businesses! And now — all gone. Due to one man’s incomprehensible stubbornness.

          O/T on O/T but — wow — Northern Indiana has really been blasted with this snow storm! We thought we had quite a mess here, but we may have gotten off relatively easy, it seems. Tonight the temps are going down to 9 F here. But with the wind chill thrown in, it will feel like a balmy -12 F.

          • bito says:

            Speaking of boring :-) , I lived in the dunes area on Lake Michigan, below/before the moraine of the lake so the lake effects would usually dump the snow there on the “snow belt.” Yes, they really got slammed, my niece lives on the moraine, she is snowed in large! Hey I left her family my cross country skies, so no problem, eh? She can ski to work. 😆
            9 degrees, snow, sleds, snowball fights…. all sounds like fun….. as a kid, but never fun as an adult going to work or struggling to get to a grocery store.
            The sounds of winter, RRRRR,,,RRRR,,,RRRR…. Damnit car…Start you….

            • bito says:

              e’cat, Didn’t recognize the name, so I had too do a quick search, new name ,but yes, that is in the same area. Near the Indiana Dunes State Park, which is now a National Park.
              My old back yard, now is the Indiana Dunes National Lake Shore Park. My old stomping grounds. I would love to hear the story, I enjoy Great Lakes history and stories.
              Let me tell you about Diana of the Dunes. In 1908….. 😆

            • escribacat says:

              Bito, I have a great story about a house on Lake Michigan, near Duneland Beach. But it’s kind of a long one and I have to figure out how to write it. Is that where you’re from?

            • kesmarn says:

              That and “scrrrrape, scrape, scrrrrape”…especially in the parking lot at midnight after work… Why can’t Barack Obama build an indoor parking garage into his “Obamacare” for us…? Whiiiiine…. And where’s my pony?

  12. Kalima says:

    “Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Rep. for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has died, a senior administration official confirms.”

    Holbrooke dies days after heart surgery


    From the Beeb.


    • Khirad says:

      Major suck.

    • bito says:

      This is sad, he was an excellent diplomat.

      • Kalima says:

        Some people claimed he was boring, but yes he was a good diplomat, and knew his stuff. Unfortunately his kind of dedication hardly exists these days.

        • kesmarn says:

          Greetings, Kalima! May I barge in? And may I join the Boring Club?

          Sorry to see the loss of Holbrooke as well. It is indeed tough to survive a dissecting aortic aneurysm. By the time you really feel symptoms, you’d better be within about 5 minutes of an operating room and a great cardio-vascular surgeon.
          This has to be very tough on his family.

          • Kalima says:

            Never boring kes, and always more than welcome.

            As I always say at times like this, the truly nasty buggers live to torment us until they reach a ripe old age.

            • kesmarn says:

              😆 Undoubtedly!

            • Kalima says:

              I’ve got one of the crankiest neighbours ever here. He moans and screams at everyone about everything. When he goes skiing, even though he complains about a back problem, I cross my fingers that he will ski right off an embankment into the next town or village there, but he always makes it home. That sounds bad I know, but you would have to meet the miserable, old grump to understand. He will live to be a 100 I’m sure.

            • kesmarn says:

              There must be something about being evil that boosts one’s immune system, don’t you think, Kalima?

              Maybe those truly nasty buggers’ bodies are saying to themselves: “Must work hard to stay alive and well. Must avoid facing Judgment Day as long as possible in hopes God will have become bored with me by then…”

        • bito says:

          Dedication is the word, Kalima. He may have been boring to some, but was he there to be in the news or to make news?
          (Who am I to say someone is boring, I watch C-Span and shows on policy, 😆 )

          • Kalima says:

            Not boring at all bito, just staying informed. I played catch-up watching the confirmation hearings for your two SC women justices, I must have been at it all day long, I forgot to eat.

  13. bito says:

    We report, you decide?

    From Media Matters.

    LEAKED EMAIL: Fox boss caught slanting news reporting

    From: Sammon, Bill
    Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
    To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
    Subject: friendly reminder: let’s not slip back into calling it the “public option”

    1) Please use the term “government-run health insurance” or, when brevity is a concern, “government option,” whenever possible.

    2) When it is necessary to use the term “public option” (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation’s lexicon), use the qualifier “so-called,” as in “the so-called public option.”

    3) Here’s another way to phrase it: “The public option, which is the government-run plan.”

    4) When newsmakers and sources use the term “public option” in our stories, there’s not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.

    Why does this not surprise me?

    • Khirad says:

      By the way, on RatAgain the leader on the bottom of the screen said: Setback for Obamacare?

      WFT? Since when did we start using their Luntzian coinages?

    • kesmarn says:

      Slap my wrist for saying it, but there are times when leaks are not such bad things (as in the Abu Graib photos) and this is one of them.

      I notice, too, that Repub senators and reps nearly always refer to HCR as “Obamacare” and have adopted the Rush Limbaugh-ism of saying “the Democrat Party” rather than “Democratic.” I guess there’s just too much effort and too many calories expended to add that extra syllable. And I also guess that we know who really dictates Republican policy and rhetorical style.

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