Friday, October 31, 2008

As If They Haven't Unraveled Protections Enough Already

Every administration does this, making last minute changes to laws and regulations while Congress is out of town. If you compare what Bush is doing now with what Clinton did as he was leaving office, you find a stark difference between Republican and Democratic views, especially on enviornmental regulations.

Read the whole article here:

Two other rules nearing completion would ease limits on pollution from power plants, a major energy industry goal for the past eight years that is strenuously opposed by Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups.

One rule, being pursued over some opposition within the Environmental Protection Agency, would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases. According to the EPA's estimate, it would allow millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, worsening global warming.

A related regulation would ease limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants near national parks.

A third rule would allow increased emissions from oil refineries, chemical factories and other industrial plants with complex manufacturing operations.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Writer's Conference with Dennis Lehane and Other Stars

Here's Kimberly Standiford trying to herd cats, ie writers. Debra Dean, Peter Meinke, Cindy Chinelly Dan Wakefield, Dennis Lehane, Les Standiford, and Tristan Dufresne (John and Cindy's son). Campbell McGrath (our fine poet) walks up at the last moment. Yours truly was filming the moment, so I'm not in this one. We're all about to go in to hear Dennis give a funny no-nonsense talk on fiction writing.

Dennis was our student in the long long ago. I, for one, can take no credit for his success. He was an excellent writer when he arrived in our program back in the early 90's and he went on to develop into a very fine writer indeed.

And here's a still photo of the same group. There I am at the end of the line. (you can always click the photo for a larger view)

It was a fine five days in Hutchinson Island. About 50 participants came to the conference and heard some very fine readings, and classes on a whole range of subjects.

Though it rained most of the time and was windy and dark, (we Floridians call this atmospheric), I didn't hear anybody complain.

Great food, and some funny evenings spent in excellent company.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Fellow Citizens

This is called cognitive dissonance. Drinking the Kool-Aid.

The people in this line yelling out hateful things toward some Obama supporters are very likely some of the very people most injured by the policies of the last eight years.

During the Bush Administration, the national debt, now approaching ten trillion dollars, has nearly doubled. Next year’s federal budget is projected to run a half-trillion-dollar deficit, a precipitous fall from the seven-hundred-billion-dollar surplus that was projected when Bill Clinton left office. Private-sector job creation has been a sixth of what it was under President Clinton. Five million people have fallen into poverty. The number of Americans without health insurance has grown by seven million, while average premiums have nearly doubled. Meanwhile, the principal domestic achievement of the Bush Administration has been to shift the relative burden of taxation from the rich to the rest. For the top one per cent of us, the Bush tax cuts are worth, on average, about a thousand dollars a week; for the bottom fifth, about a dollar and a half.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Just when you thought it couldn't go any lower, it does.

From a GOP mailer in Virginia:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


"He’s neither-nor. He’s other. It’s in the Bible. Come as one. Don’t create other breeds.” RICKY THOMPSON, in Mobile, Ala., speaking about Barack Obama.

And from the same article (yes, in the NY Times: “He’s going to tear up the rose bushes and plant a watermelon patch,” said James Halsey, chuckling, while standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot with fellow workers in the environmental cleanup business. “I just don’t think we’ll ever have a black president.”

Am I an elitist because I find this offensive and stupid? I guess so.

Damn, I wish I'd never gone off to the city and gotten all uppity. I wish I was still a good old boy from the hills of Kentucky.

25th Anniversary of Miami Book Fair

Alina Interián, Executive Director of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, says a few words for The Blog of Blogs.

I'll be doing a panel with Dennis Lehane and John Dufresne on Saturday, November 15, at 10 A.M.

See you there.

Mitch Kaplan at Work

Here's my friend Mitch meeting with a book rep, an activity he repeats all day, day after day. He's got a beautiful place to work, in the rare book room at Books and Books in Coral Gables. (Sorry about all the shadows. It was a sunny day and I was stupidly shooting into the sun.)

I was there for an interview with an AP reporter who's doing a story on the 25th Anniversary of the Miami Book Fair. An amazing event with scads of writers.

When that AP story appears, of course I'll post it here.

Click here for more info.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Unveiling Another Relief Package

The good news is that there are only (I forget the number) a handful of days left before this is over.

The bad news is that we'll be paying for this little spending spree (bailout, rescue, golden parachute) for the rest of our freaking lives and the lives of everyone living on the planet and everyone living on all the adjacent planets.

What's My Line?

Now these guys are Mavericks.

Well, this guy was too.

Maybe a little too frisky. But, hey, it was the 60's.

Now this guy. Think again before electing him to high office.

A prophetic look.

Is this one: "That one"?

A bad actor?

An unrepentant one?

Grudging Endorsement

Here's a grudging endorsement by a right winger.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Desperate Times

From the Baltimore Sun, October 10

McCain's attacks fuel dangerous hatred
By Frank Schaeffer
October 10, 2008
John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.


John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever.

We will hold you responsible.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back." His e-mail is

And some other political commentary I believe in heartily.

And then there's this endorsement that's also an eloquent analysis of the disastrous last eight years and the choice before us.

Proud to be a liberal.

I've asked Aunt Judy, the censor, to take the week off.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Drill Baby Drill

Oil rigs stand up just fine to hurricanes, says McCain.

Oh, yeah?

Let's build some of those babies in the Keys, man.

Not mention the collateral damage with cats:


Obama "just doesn't seem like he's from America," said Beth Bailey, 25. Ben Bailey, 32, noted that Obama's middle name is Hussein, "and we know what that means."

Read the rest.

In Case You Missed The Debate

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Not So Swift

Well, there's a month to go, so now the fun begins.
Obama is best buddies with a terrorist.

And this is just the beginning of the swift boat flailing.

If you'd like to know the counter-arguments to the shit that's about to hit the fan...

Or the non-partisan:

"What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon -- that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize." – Barack Obama, June 3, 2008

Didn't McCain say something like this once a long long time ago?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Post Debate Analysis

Who won? A fair and balanced sampling:

From Joe in Bumnut, Iowa:

"The Barracuda, man, you betcha. She ate his tonsils."

From two of her constituents:

Thunk and Thud Hammerschmidt:

"She ripped his eyeballs out."

From Sarah's second grade teacher, Miss Snakey:

"I see sweet Sarah's still using her cheat sheet."

From the Cleaver family, staunch Republicans:

"She mentioned Ronald Regean five times, so we love her."

From three Fox News Anchors at post-debate party:

"What she absolutely said was nothing that approached gibberish or made sense which was exactly the tactical strategy given the bias of the entire proceedings which she had to suffer gender bias and elitist East Coast nosepicking. She won hands down."

From everybody else:

"This lady wants more powers than Dick Cheney?! I'm moving to Canada."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thanks, But No Thanks

Check out this cool viewing tool for earmarks--a Google Earth map.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Pork-barrel spending

McCain has been particularly focused on congressional pork, promising to do away with unnecessary earmarks - spending provisions that Congress members insert into legislation.

Obama has pledged to cut back earmarks and reveal them to the public. As a senator, Obama has requested earmarks. In the 2008 fiscal year, Obama requested $321.8 million in earmarks and got $98.6 million in the final appropriations bills, according to the non-partisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

McCain does not request earmarks for Arizona, but running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin asked for $200 million in the 2009 fiscal year.

Earmarks make up less than 1 percent of the $3 trillion federal budget.

Much ado about not very much?

Some earmarks, like this one in my backyard, sponsored by Democratic and Republican reps in Miami, seem perfectly fine. What's the big deal?

$2,000,000 to Miami Children's Hospital for Pediatric Brain Tumor & Neurological Disease Institute”

Sponsors: Rep. Meek (D-FL) Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Look Out, Senator B

Spine Novels

Here's something interesting.

And I don't think it has anything to do with politics.

Then again: