Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August 28th, 2008

When Is Martin Luther King Like Hitler?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 28, 2008

When the Republican National Committee and John McCain’s campaign decide that it’s not only wrong for the DNC to use a columns theme on its stage — one intended to evoke the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in front of the columns of the Lincoln Memorial, the forty-fifth anniversary of which is today — but that in doing so, Obama is somehow invoking Uncle Adolf at Nuremberg.

As Julia says:

I’m not surprised McCain missed the visual reference.

He was never a great fan of Dr. King’s.

It’s not just John Sidney McCain III that has trouble understanding that reference. Apparently Peggy Noonan does, too, as well as the rest of the GOP and their media sycophants.

UPDATE: The GOP’s attempt to push this theme is so disgusting, not to mention stupid, that it’s embarrassing honest McCain supporters such as Marque, who took a right-wing blogger to task for regurgitating this nonsense:

For me, this one’s a step too far. The Lincoln Memorial was built to look like a Greek temple — long before the fascists emerged on the scene. Does that mean MLK thought he was Apollo or Athena when he spoke there? Does it mean he earned this same Hitler comparison?

I’m a McCain guy, and I agree that Obama and his campaign has found no end to their arrogance and self-regard. But to use Greek revival architecture as a backdrop for a speech isn’t hubris — it’s traditional. Pillars and capitals denote power, stability, and intelligence. Any campaign would like to invoke those kinds of values, and I can’t fault Obama’s for doing that here. If McCain did the same, we’d laud him for it – and we’d be furious if Democrats called him a fascist.

Thank you, Marque, for being decent.

UPDATE: David Horsey, of course, knows what happened on this date forty-five years ago.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, civil rights, GOP/Media Complex, John McCain, Martin Luther King, media, Media machine, mediawhores, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, WTF? | 5 Comments »

The speech

Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2008

As a student of rhetoric, I have been in the main disappointed by speeches at the Democratic convention. Setting aside the content and the delivery, few of the ones I heard exhibited a consistent, self-reinforcing theme or themes that reinforced one another.

In the few minutes remaining before Barack Obama gives his speech, I thought I might outline what I would produce. Not the speech I would deliver if I were the candidate, but the speech that Obama should give. The subtext is A House Divided: True Faith vs. False, and it builds on the point Al Gore made, namely that Abraham Lincoln, whose experience consisted of eight years in the Illinois legislature and a single congressional term, had the judgment and wisdom to lead the nation through its greatest trial. But Gore did not explore the theme a bit further, to consider that we are on the brink of the greatest crisis our nation has faced since Civil War. Here it is, in outline:

Our nation is a house divided, divided by political ideology, by income, and by race. As Kevin Phillips has said, this is a conscious strategy of the Republican Party. Now our nation stands on the eve of a great crisis, certainly the greatest since the Second World War, but potentially even more serious. As Lincoln said, a house divided cannot stand. Our economy is the base on which our military strength stands. Our national unity is the mortar that binds brick to brick. The storm is rising.

The key threads of the crisis are (1) economic, as exemplified by the financial crisis and the national debt, (2) military, as exemplified by the tensions between the demands of the Iraq occupation and challenges such as those in the Pakistani tribal areas, Georgia, and so on, and (3) political, with our nation profoundly divided.

An Obama presidency cannot restore the trillions of dollars wasted by financial shenanigans, but it can help to restore the integrity of the financial markets. It cannot on its own pay off the trillions piled onto the national debt, but it can present a fiscally-sound tax policy. It cannot impose peace on the world, but it can help our military prepare for the next crisis by supporting veterans and by winding down an unjust occupation. It cannot make Americans across the political divide like one another, but it can work toward equality and justice for all.

True faith in God is a faith in truth, justice, and concern for the poor and powerless. The Republican Party has placed its faith in a false god, the god of the market, the god of power. That false faith has brought us to this point of bankruptcy, military overstretch, and political division. John McCain offers us the policies of the past. His campaign continues to stoke division with untrue and unjust attacks on me. He is better than that. But whatever he does, I pledge to lead us on a higher road toward a house united in brotherly and sisterly compassion.

I hope that this is the speech, improved by more than 25 minutes of editing, that he gives.

And now, history awaits.

Posted in Barack Obama | 4 Comments »

What’s Your Obama Tax Cut Going To Be?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 28, 2008

95% of all Americans will enjoy a tax cut under Obama’s tax plan. Only those in the top 5% — the persons who reaped the bennies from Bush’s massive 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the rich — will see any increases. (That’s right, folks: John McCain’s been lying about Obama’s tax plan. I know, I know, it’s such a shock that Mister How Many Houses Do I Own? would lie about anything. Not.)

Find out what your tax cut will be by visiting

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, taxes | 2 Comments »

In full animation!

Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2008

Thanks to Anna Granfors posting at Sideshow… Buffy!

Posted in Just for fun | 2 Comments »

Human-Powered Generators

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 28, 2008

Following up on the roads-as-solar-collectors post (yes, renewable energy’s been on my mind a lot lately):

I was at the Minnesota State Fair recently and got to try out the “We Power” bicycle power generation system at WCCO-TV’s We Power stand. Power generated from the eight Specialized step-through frame has been used to power several WCCO-TV broadcasts during the Fair, both this year and last year. Per the We Power people, it takes the average fairgoer about twenty minutes to generate 500 watts; I did it in around sixteen, and my spouse did it in just under eight, which surprised the We Power folk as he’s a bit hefty. (Pro bike racers could do it in five or less.)

That got me thinking about the potential for using bikes as power sources, not just as transportation. Think about it: How many people do you know who spend $60 a month to use an exercise bike at a gym when they could be pedaling a stationary bike at home or when car camping or doing other off-grid activities? You could get or stay fit and pay for the bike and the generator in three years’ time or less (and that’s if you ordered the ready-made easy-to-use Pedal-a-Watt package system made by Econvergence). Plus, you’d be saving a few dollars every month by generating a little bit of your own power.

It’s certainly not going to cover all your power needs (unless of course you’re very energy-stingy), but it could help tide you over for those times when the wind’s not blowing or the sun’s not shining – and keep you healthy at the same time.

Posted in energy, environment, Good Things, health issues, saving the earth, sustainability | 2 Comments »

The Crimean of the century?

Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2008

Askold Krushelnycky, London Independent:

Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, could be the next flashpoint in the new Cold War. And any violent disturbance in Crimea could provide the political seismic shock to split Ukraine itself along its existing fault lines of ethnicity, language and religion.

The Crimean peninsula is the only part of Ukraine where ethnic Russians are in a majority. Many of them are deeply resentful about being part of Ukraine and openly call for annexation by Russia. Moscow has fostered pro-annexation groups for years.

For centuries, Crimea was the homeland of a Muslim people, the Crimean Tatars, until it was taken by Catherine the Great in the late 18th century.

The presence of the Russian fleet reinforces the local feeling that Crimea is part of Russia. Thousands of Russian sailors and soldiers are used to strolling around the city, and Russian flags flutter above the neo-classical government and naval buildings. …

Reports that thousands of Russian passports have already been distributed in Crimea have added to fears that a “South Ossetian” scenario is in the offing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Roads As Solar Collectors

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 28, 2008

This is an interesting idea that’s been discussed before. However, the era of asphalt is about to come to an end, as asphalt’s made of petroleum and is also skyrocketing in price.  Also, potholes would likely be an issue. 

The good news is that concrete retains heat well itself (see, or just go fry an egg on a sidewalk on a sunny day), so one doesn’t need for the road surface to be asphalt for this concept to work. In addition, skipping the traffic lanes and just putting the collectors in the road shoulders would probably work better, as shoulders get more sunlight and less traffic.

Posted in automobiles, energy, environment, Good Things, infrastructure | 3 Comments »

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