Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunlight and partner Associated Press Managing Editors invite citizens to join distributed research project

Sunlight and partner Associated Press Managing Editors invite citizens to join distributed research project

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Sunlight Foundation is introducing a new website that allows citizens to report on the political ads they see on TV, hear on the radio or view online. The Sunlight Campaign Ad Monitor (Sunlight CAM) allows anyone to report real-time information on who is buying political ad time in support of or against candidates or issues on the ballot. In 2008, $2.5 billion was spent on advertising for political campaigns and electoral issues, and experts are indicating that this year's elections will top that amount.

In January 2010, the landscape of money and politics in the U.S. changed dramatically with the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. In its wake, Congress has failed to take action to require reporting on the new political spending. Sunlight CAM is a response to this situation.

"Sunlight Campaign Ad Monitor is a great tool for anyone who wants to participate in keeping tabs on whose paying for political ads across the country. With hundreds of millions of dollars already spent on political advertising and even more expected to be spent in the final weeks leading up to Election Day, voters have the right to know what private interests are behind these ads," said Ellen Miller, executive director and co-founder of the Sunlight Foundation. "And we're giving citizens the tools to help create a database that all of us can use."

Using the site is simple. Visit and enter your home zip code on the main page, plus note what type of ad you are reporting (radio, TV or Internet). Next, enter some additional information, including the media outlet that ran the ad, which politician was mentioned, what was said and if the ad included a "paid for by" line. Sunlight encourages reporters, bloggers and citizens-alike to download the data to do additional research. The Sunlight Reporting Group will use Sunlight CAM to assist with its online investigations examining the flow of money this election season. 

Sunlight CAM is a distributed database; its work driven by the site's users and our media partners, including the Associated Press Managing Editors association.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable.  Visit to learn more about Sunlight's projects, including and

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Extent of lingering Gulf oil plume revealed

Excerpts Taken from Nature News August 19 2010

Written by Amanda Mascarelli
The swathe of oil still stretching from the Deepwater Horizon spill is 35-kilometres long, according to a new report. The study, published in Science, is the first major peer-reviewed analysis of the underwater oil plume. It also indicates that the plume has persisted for several months, with oxygen measurements showing little sign of the oil being degraded quickly by microbes in the water.
A team led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts found that the main plume is suspended at a depth of 1,000–1,200 metres below the surface and in some places is more than 2 kilometres wide and 200 metres thick. Other oil plumes are present in the Gulf of Mexico, but this was the first to be identified and is the most thoroughly sampled.
"Up to this point, people had identified hydrocarbons in subsurface waters, but they weren't able to say just how wide the plume was, how tall it was, or how long it was, or that it was continuous," says lead author Richard Camilli, an oceanographer at the WHOI.
Beginning at the site of the blown-out oil pipe, Camilli and his colleagues studied the plume's properties by zigzagging an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) through the plume. They suspect that the plume was longer than 35 kilometres, but their measurements were stopped short in late June by the approach of Hurricane Alex. But between 19 June and 28 June, the team took more than 3,500 real-time measurements of hydrocarbon concentrations and tracked the presence of 10 chemicals in the water column by using a mass-spectrometer that they lowered into the water by a cable. They made another 2,300 chemical measurements while sampling oxygen concentrations in the water.
The team has a "technological capability that is second to none on this planet," says John Kessler, a chemical oceanographer at Texas A&M University in College Station. "They can basically swim the AUV like a fish through this plume, measuring all the different oil and gas hydrocarbons and do a much more efficient job of mapping the area of this plume than anyone else can."

Read More Here
Yep, Its not going away and we have yet to see the worst. Shame on BP and our Government for telling us otherwise!

Drought Drives Decade-Long Decline in Plant Growth


Earth has done an ecological about-face: Global plant productivity that once flourished under warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline, struck by the stress of drought.

NASA-funded researchers Maosheng Zhao and Steven Running, of the University of Montana in Missoula, discovered the global shift during an analysis of NASA satellite data. Compared with a six-percent increase spanning two earlier decades, the recent ten-year decline is slight -- just one percent. The shift, however, could impact food security, biofuels, and the global carbon cycle.

A snapshot of Earth's plant productivity in 2003 shows regions of increased productivity (green) and decreased productivity (red). Tracking productivity between 2000 and 2009, researchers found a global net decrease due to regional drought. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

"We see this as a bit of a surprise, and potentially significant on a policy level because previous interpretations suggested that global warming might actually help plant growth around the world," Running said.

"These results are extraordinarily significant because they show that the global net effect of climatic warming on the productivity of terrestrial vegetation need not be positive -- as was documented for the 1980’s and 1990’s," said Diane Wickland, of NASA Headquarters and manager of NASA's Terrestrial Ecology research program.

Conventional wisdom based on previous research held that land plant productivity was on the rise. A 2003 paper in Science led by then University of Montana scientist Ramakrishna Nemani (now at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.) showed that global terrestrial plant productivity increased as much as six percent between 1982 and 1999. That's because for nearly two decades, temperature, solar radiation and water availability -- influenced by climate change -- were favorable for growth.

Setting out to update that analysis, Zhao and Running expected to see similar results as global average temperatures have continued to climb. Instead, they found that the impact of regional drought overwhelmed the positive influence of a longer growing season, driving down global plant productivity between 2000 and 2009. The team published their findings Aug. 20 in Science.

"This is a pretty serious warning that warmer temperatures are not going to endlessly improve plant growth," Running said.

The discovery comes from an analysis of plant productivity data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite, combined with growing season climate variables including temperature, solar radiation and water. The plant and climate data are factored into an algorithm that describes constraints on plant growth at different geographical locations.

For example, growth is generally limited in high latitudes by temperature and in deserts by water. But regional limitations can very in their degree of impact on growth throughout the growing season.

Zhao and Running's analysis showed that since 2000, high-latitude  northern hemisphere ecosystems have continued to benefit from warmer temperatures and a longer growing season. But that effect was offset by warming-associated drought that limited growth in the southern hemisphere, resulting in a net global loss of land productivity.

"This past decade’s net decline in terrestrial productivity illustrates that a complex interplay between temperature, rainfall, cloudiness, and carbon dioxide, probably in combination with other factors such as nutrients and land management, will determine future patterns and trends in productivity," Wickland said.

Researchers are keen on maintaining a record of the trends into the future. For one reason, plants act as a carbon dioxide "sink," and shifting plant productivity is linked to shifting levels of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Also, stresses on plant growth could challenge food production.

"The potential that future warming would cause additional declines does not bode well for the ability of the biosphere to support multiple societal demands for agricultural production, fiber needs, and increasingly, biofuel production," Zhao said.

"Even if the declining trend of the past decade does not continue, managing forests and croplands for multiple benefits to include food production, biofuel harvest, and carbon storage may become exceedingly challenging in light of the possible impacts of such decadal-scale changes," Wickland said.

Okay Now the Color Of Black is Hands Off for the GOP?

The Huffington Post   |  Nick Wing First Posted: 08-19-10 12:32 PM

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle once partook in a campaign against a local high school's use of black football jerseys, arguing that the dark color was ungodly and wicked, Bill Roberts of Nevada's Pahrump Valley Times recently reported.

It was Homecoming of 1992 and Nevada's Tonopah High School football was seeking to depart from their school colors, specifically in wearing black jerseys instead of the usual red and white. The uniform change was meant to be a display of solidarity; the year before, the team had suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of a rival that had, up to that point, been winless. The Homecoming game in 1992 was their chance to make up for that plaguing defeat in front of the whole school, and they wanted to do something special to build the team's spirits.

Enter Sharron Angle and her color-crusading cohort.

While some detractors made the argument that adopting the new color was unacceptable simply as a breach of tradition, Angle -- who was in the midst of an eventually successful campaign for school board -- and others argued that wearing black jerseys was closer to sacrilege.

"I cannot quote scripture as they did to justify their point but the gist of their argument was that black as a color was thoroughly evil, invoking the supernatural and especially the devil," Roberts reports. "Whichever argument prevailed, school administrators caved in and prohibited the Muckers from wearing the black apparel."

The black uniforms were then confiscated and held under "lock and key" by the administration, which refused to compensate the team for the money they had spent acquiring the jerseys.

Though Sharron Angle sought to downplay the nearly 20-year old incident at a press conference Wednesday, claiming that she had "no recollection of the controversy or any position she may have taken," such a stance would not be entirely uncharacteristic of the deeply religious Senate candidate that Angle has shown herself to be since capturing her primary victory in June.

From the "the beginning," Angle has described her campaign as divinely inspired, and said in July that she believed God had called on her to run for the U.S. Senate. She has also repeatedly made clear her positions on abortion -- that it shouldn't be accepted even in the cases of rape or incest -- and has expressed skepticism over the true necessity for a separation of church and state. Earlier this month, Angle painted the Democratic agenda as a "violation of the First Commandment," because it supposedly created idolatry in making the "government our God" with entitlement programs. Just a day later, she filled out a questionnaire of her religious views that uncovered her dislike of gay adoption, her support for the clergy taking part in politics, and a promise not to take money from any PAC or corporation that supported gay rights.

Now heres the rub according to my Family's like of religion. Don't Priests were Black????? These are the people Republicans want in office?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mama Grizzlies Attack Ex-Governor Sarah Palin In Web Ad

EMILY's List, a national organization committed to helping elect pro-choice Democratic women, is out with a new web ad targeting midterm election candidates running with the endorsement of ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
The minute-and-a-half spot comes as part of the progressive group's "Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me" initiative, which launched on Tuesday.
As a Mama Grizzly in Montana this is my Ad to Sarah Pandering Palin!

Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hindenburg Omen

Taken from Bloomberg News! The reporter on this story: Alexis Xydias in London at

This week’s plunge in U.S. stocks triggered a technical indicator known as the Hindenburg Omen that may signal a more severe selloff, according to analysts who follow charts to predict market moves.

The market signal, named for a German zeppelin that caught fire and crashed more than seven decades ago, occurs when an unusually high number of companies in the New York Stock Exchange reach 52-week highs and lows. The indicator last occurred in October 2008, according to UBS AG.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index yesterday completed the biggest three-day decline since July 1, after an unexpected increase in unemployment claims added to evidence an economic recovery is weakening. The benchmark gauge for U.S. stocks has dropped 3.4 percent so far this week as Federal Reserve policy makers said growth “is likely to be more modest” than they previously forecast.

The indicator may suggest “a savage equity downturn is imminent,” said Albert Edwards, a London-based strategist at Societe Generale SA, who has told investors to favor bonds over stocks for more than a decade. “Equities are tottering on the edge as increasingly recessionary data becomes apparent. It would not take much to tip them over that edge.”

The Hindenburg signal was triggered yesterday as the proportion of stocks reaching new one-year highs and lows both exceeded 2.2 percent of the total listed on the NYSE, according to Michael Riesner, a technical analyst at UBS in Zurich.

Rising Market

The number of stocks at a 52-week high must not be more than twice the number marking lows, the technical theory also says, according to analysts. The indicator is only valid in a rising market, as defined by the NYSE Composite Index’s rolling average value in the last 10 weeks. It must also occur when the NYSE McClellan Oscillator, a measure of market momentum, is negative.

The Hindenburg Omen must be confirmed with a second occurrence within 36 days, according to Riesner. He said the signal occurred seven times in 2008 as the S&P 500 posted its biggest annual drop since the Great Depression.

“It’s an interesting name but what you really have as a technical background is a classic distribution phase in the market,” Riesner said. “It’s the classic tug of war between bulls and bears that you have there.”

In technical analysis, investors and analysts study charts of trading patterns and prices to predict changes in a security, commodity, currency or index. UBS is ranked as the top bank for equity technical analysis and charting according to a 2010 Thomson Extel survey.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Social Security Lifts almost 70 thousand Elderly American Montanans Out of Poverty

Social Security Lifts 13 Million Elderly Americans Out of Poverty

August 11, 2010
Forward by Norma Duffy:

So almost 70,000 Montanans would be in Poverty if it wasn't for Democrats Protecting social security. How shameful is it then that we have a Republican Representative Like Denny Rehburg that wants to kick our elders to the curb. Denny like every other Re-Thug out there wants to harm our grandparents by dropping social security! You be the judge and vote for him into office again in November, or look to a brighter future by voting for Dennis McDonald!

Almost 90 percent of people aged 65 and older receive some of their family income from Social Security. [1] Without Social Security benefits, 45.2 percent of elderly Americans would have incomes below the poverty line, all else being equal. With Social Security benefits, only 9.7 percent are poor. Some 13.2 million elderly Americans are lifted out of poverty by Social Security.
Social Security reduces elderly poverty dramatically in every state in the nation, as shown in Figure 1 and Table 2. Without Social Security, the poverty rate for those aged 65 and over would exceed 40 percent in 42 states. With Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in the large majority of states is less than 10 percent. Social Security lifts 1.1 million elderly people out of poverty in California and Florida, almost 900,000 in Texas, and 800,000 in New York.

Social Security Lifts More Than 1 Million Children Out of Poverty

Social Security is important for children and their families as well as for the elderly. About 6 million children under age 18 (8 percent of all U.S. children) lived in families that received income from Social Security in 2008, according to Census data. Over 3 million children received their own benefits as dependents of retired, disabled, or deceased workers. Others lived with parents or relatives who received Social Security benefits. In all, 1.1 million children are lifted out of poverty by Social Security.
Social Security records show that 3.2 million children under age 18 qualified for Social Security payments themselves in December 2009. Of these, 1.3 million were the survivor of a deceased worker. Another 1.6 million received payments because their parent had a severe disability. And 301,000 children under 18 received payments because their parent or, in some cases, grandparent was retired.

Read more Here

By Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney

Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame. Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies (for more on that paper, see p. 4). Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years (see Figure 1).

The deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.4 trillion and, at nearly 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the largest deficit relative to the size of the economy since the end of World War II. If current policies are continued without changes, deficits will likely approach those figures in 2010 and remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade.

The events and policies that have pushed deficits to these high levels in the near term, however, were largely outside the new Administration’s control. If not for the tax cuts enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush that Congress did not pay for, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were initiated during that period, and the effects of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression (including the cost of steps necessary to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term.

While President Obama inherited a dismal fiscal legacy, that does not diminish his responsibility to propose policies to address our fiscal imbalance and put the weight of his office behind them. Although policymakers should not tighten fiscal policy in the near term while the economy remains fragile, they and the nation at large must come to grips with the nation’s long-term deficit problem. But we should not mistake the causes of our predicament.

Taken from

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Even a Republican Mayor Knows theConstitutional rights of all Americans

The following are New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's remarks as delivered on Governors Island.
We have come here to Governors Island to stand where the earliest settlers first set foot in New Amsterdam, and where the seeds of religious tolerance were first planted. We've come here to see the inspiring symbol of liberty that, more than 250 years later, would greet millions of immigrants in the harbor, and we come here to state as strongly as ever - this is the freest City in the world. That's what makes New York special and different and strong.
Our doors are open to everyone - everyone with a dream and a willingness to work hard and play by the rules. New York City was built by immigrants, and it is sustained by immigrants - by people from more than a hundred different countries speaking more than two hundred different languages and professing every faith. And whether your parents were born here, or you came yesterday, you are a New Yorker.
We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11.
On that day, 3,000 people were killed because some murderous fanatics didn't want us to enjoy the freedom to profess our own faiths, to speak our own minds, to follow our own dreams and to live our own lives.
Of all our precious freedoms, the most important may be the freedom to worship as we wish. And it is a freedom that, even here in a City that is rooted in Dutch tolerance, was hard-won over many years. In the mid-1650s, the small Jewish community living in Lower Manhattan petitioned Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant for the right to build a synagogue - and they were turned down.
In 1657, when Stuyvesant also prohibited Quakers from holding meetings, a group of non-Quakers in Queens signed the Flushing Remonstrance, a petition in defense of the right of Quakers and others to freely practice their religion. It was perhaps the first formal, political petition for religious freedom in the American colonies - and the organizer was thrown in jail and then banished from New Amsterdam.
In the 1700s, even as religious freedom took hold in America, Catholics in New York were effectively prohibited from practicing their religion - and priests could be arrested. Largely as a result, the first Catholic parish in New York City was not established until the 1780's - St. Peter's on Barclay Street, which still stands just one block north of the World Trade Center site and one block south of the proposed mosque and community center.
This morning, the City's Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously voted not to extend landmark status to the building on Park Place where the mosque and community center are planned. The decision was based solely on the fact that there was little architectural significance to the building. But with or without landmark designation, there is nothing in the law that would prevent the owners from opening a mosque within the existing building. The simple fact is this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship.
The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right - and if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question - should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.
The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves - and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans - if we said 'no' to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.
Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values - and play into our enemies' hands - if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists - and we should not stand for that.
For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime - as important a test - and it is critically important that we get it right.
On September 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked 'What God do you pray to?' 'What beliefs do you hold?'
The attack was an act of war - and our first responders defended not only our City but also our country and our Constitution. We do not honor their lives by denying the very Constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights - and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked.
Of course, it is fair to ask the organizers of the mosque to show some special sensitivity to the situation - and in fact, their plan envisions reaching beyond their walls and building an interfaith community. By doing so, it is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our City even closer together and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam. Muslims are as much a part of our City and our country as the people of any faith and they are as welcome to worship in Lower Manhattan as any other group. In fact, they have been worshiping at the site for the better part of a year, as is their right.
The local community board in Lower Manhattan voted overwhelming to support the proposal and if it moves forward, I expect the community center and mosque will add to the life and vitality of the neighborhood and the entire City.
Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure - and there is no neighborhood in this City that is off limits to God's love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us today can attest.
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Mr. Newt's New History Lesson

So there is a guy who looks into the past. Opens the attic of a long time past to find out if some one in the present is abusing it, and re-writing history for Political gain. Like Newt Gingrich does when he talks about the Cordoba House.You would know it as the "Ground Zero Mosque. Carl Pyrdum sets him straight with a great blog based on research. Apparently, something "Newt" doesn't use anymore

Last week Gingrich released a statement that went something like this:The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.  For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term.  It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

The Muslims conquered Cordoba in 712.  The Christian church that was later transformed into the Great Mosque of Cordoba apparently and continued hosting Christian worship for at least a generation after that.  Work on the Mosque didn't actually begin until seventy-odd years later in 784, and the mosque only became "the world's third-largest" late in the tenth century, after a series of expansions by much later rulers, probably around 987 or so. Muslim historians writing about the Great Mosque don't point to it as a symbol of Muslim triumph over Christians; rather, they treat it primarily as a symbol of Muslim victory over other Muslims.

The mosque was indeed begun in the wake of a Muslim conquest--just not the conquest of the Christians.  Rather, it was ordered built by the Umayyad emir Abd-ar-Ramman the first, probably in part to commemorate his successful conquest of Cordoba in the 750's, fought against other Muslim chieftains loyal to the rival Abbasid Caliphate, and his successful repulsion of subsequent Abbasid attempts to dislodge him by force throughout the 760's. This is, incidentally, probably why the Great Mosque--unlike almost every other Mosque in the Muslim world--is built facing south.

Usually, Mosques are built facing Mecca, as Muslims are meant to pray towards the holy city.  But the Great Mosque is oriented as if it were actually built in Damascus, the original capital of the Umayyads and the city from which Abd-Ar-Ramman had had to flee in exile when it was conquered by the Abbasids.  Damascus is north of Mecca, while Cordoba is much further west.  By pointing his Mosque south, Abd-ar-Ramman the first was telling his Muslim rivals, "This exile to Iberia is a temporary thing; you may hold Damascus for now, but in the eyes of our god, my family still controls it."

Muslim historians of the late tenth century tell that this Abd-ar-Ramman bought the church from the Christian congregation after sharing it with them for fifty years "following the example of Abu Ubayda and Khalid, according to the judgement of Caliph Umar in partitioning Christian churches like that of Damascus and other [cities] that were taken of peaceful accord".

This is the important fact that Newt hopes those who read his polemic will be ignorant of: for a ruler to be legitimate in Muslim eyes in the tenth century, during the time when the Great Mosque was being expanded into its present-day dimensions, it was important to emphasize the peaceful succession of Islam from the other religions in the area.

Well, I know that Newt hasn't been a Catholic for very long now, but maybe his priest ought to direct him to read a little thing called "
The Catholic Encyclopedia".  Allow me to quote from the 1917 edition (which has the virtue of being in the public domain and easily searchable) and its entry on Cordoba:
In 786 the Arab caliph, Abd-er Rahman I, began the construction of the great mosque of Cordova, now the cathedral, and compelled many Christians to take part in the preparation of the site and foundations. Though they suffered many vexations, the Christians continued to enjoy freedom of worship, and this tolerant attitude of the ameers seduced not a few Christians from their original allegiance. Both Christians and Arabs co-operated at this time to make Cordova a flourishing city, the elegant refinement of which was unequaled in Europe. [...] the citizens of Cordova, Arabs, Christians, and Jews, enjoyed so high a degree of literary culture that the city was known as the New Athens. From all quarters came students eager to drink at its founts of knowledge. Among the men after-wards famous who studied at Cordova were the scholarly monk Gerbert, destined to sit on the Chair of Peter as Sylvester II (999-1003), the Jewish rabbis Moses and Maimonides, and the famous Spanish-Arabian commentator on Aristotle, Averroes.

So it's easy to see why a group of Muslims creating a community center in the heart of a majority Christian country in a city known for its large Jewish population might name it "The Cordoba House" They're not, as Gingrich hopes we would believe, discreetly laughing at us because "Cordoba" is some double-secret Islamist code for "conquest"; rather, they're hoping to associate themselves with a particular time in medieval history when the largest library in Western Europe was to be found in Cordoba, a city in which scholars of all three major Abrahamic religions were free to study side-by-side.

Excerpts from the great young Blogger "Got Medievil"

I wish the thinking would outnumber the sheep and that the rational would outnumber the fearful.

Geez, what happened last week. Is the right imploding and morphing into something really hideous. Are real Americans ever going to see the Future. or is it going to be an all out fight for sanity in this Country?

  • All my Fox viewing friends emailing me the ratings of BIll O Rielly, as if Bill; being a popular TV show had anything to do with the truth.Ratings do not mean the truth is being spread. and how does 1% of 320,000,000 Americans make it Popular. A court ruling in Florida around 2003 found Fox didn't have to provide the truth to News, because they owned their content. That's right! Fox is allowed to say whatever they want by law. Even If it is a lie!

Rachel Maddow Uses Humor To Respond To Bill O'Reilly And Make Him Look Like The Pompous Chump He Is

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meeting Today In Dillon On MSTI PLease Come

We are having a MSTI meeting to inform the Public what chicanery Northwest Energy is up to, and how you can help Us fight this. Professor Rob Thomas and special Guests will be explaining what you can do to help support keeping Northwest from spoiling our lands.

Later in the Evening at 6 PM Democratic Candidate Dennis McDonald will be on hand to listen to your concerns about MSTI, and firm up his Commitment to keep Montana Green and Rural. Though these two meetings are actually different events they both have to do with MSTI.

Please Join us at the "Great Room" on the second floor at the  Swysgood Technology Center at starting at4 P.M. July 22,2010 for the Anti MSTI Meeting and stay if you will, to get to know Dennis McDonald the Democratic Candidate for Congress who we think is a great choice for our way of life in Montana.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quit calling the Tea Party Populist!!!

A new poll by Democracy Corps, state what was been long believed by progressives regarding the TEA Party. I have Copied what I think is the most pressing issues and ask my readers to pass this Poll along to other Democrats as talking points! In this combined database of over 2,600 interviews, 25 percent identify themselves as “strong” supporters of the Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party: Popular accounts describe it as a populist revolt against elites. Richard Viguerie at a tax day rally said, “The tea parties are an unfettered new force of the middle class tapping into the anger [at] most major American institutions such as Wall Street, education, Hollywood, the media, big labor.”  And Matt Bai in The New York Times writes, “the only potent grass-roots movement to emerge from this moment of dissatisfaction with America’s economic elite exists … in the form of the so-called Tea Party rebellions that are injecting new energy into the Republican cause.”
While many of the Tea Party supporters are also frustrated with the Republican Party of TARP bailouts, that does not alter the character of the movement:
  • 86 percent of Tea Party supporters and activists identify with or lean to the Republican Party.
  • 79 percent identify as conservatives.
  • They are among the most pro-big business segments of the electorate: 54 percent rate it warmly and 20 percent coolly.
  • The Tea Party movement is not particularly blue collar.  Tea Party supporters are slightly less likely to be college-graduates than the likely electorate (41 percent, versus 45 percent), and the activists more so (48 percent).  And 85 percent of the supporters are white.
  • Only 5 percent report having voted for Obama in 2008.
With Tea Party supporters comprising one in four (25 percent) likely voters and one in ten (10 percent) active as donors or attending rallies, what they think matters:
  • They are fired up – 94 percent of the supporters say they are almost certain to vote.
  • They share a great disdain for President Obama, with over 92 percent disapproving of Obama’s performance, and 89 percent strongly. Only 6 percent think Obama ‘shares their values.’
  • They share a coherent, anti-government, conservative ideology that wants small government, little spending and returning the country to the Constitution.
  • They are united against “Obama’s Socialist Agenda” – that puts the country gravely at risk.
  • They deeply identify with Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the NRA – which share their worldview – re-enforced by the echo-chamber of Fox News, their main source of news. 
  • They are gaining energy from the prospect that they can stop Obama in this year’s election, save the party from fake conservatives and use the Republican Party to save the Constitution. 
The Tea Party supporters are a blessing for the Republican Party in this off-year challenge to the Democrats, but in important ways, they have become the Republican Party.  Almost half of self-identified Republicans (47 percent) are strong Tea Party supporters who have already played an outside role in punishing Republican moderates and producing a unified, polarizing, and unpopular national Republican Party.  The Tea Party is not very popular outside the Republican Party and Republican-leaning independents, and Beck and Palin even less so.
And in a presidential year, strong Tea Party supporters are only 21 percent of the larger electorate.
Obama’s Socialist Agenda
Tea Party activists and supporters see Obama as the defining and motivating threat to the country and its well-being, typified by his socialist agenda. Among supporters, 90 percent say the socialist label describes Obama well and 68 percent say it describes him very well. Obama fares no better on the other attributes tested: nine-in-10 think he is too liberal (93 percent) and a big spender (90 percent).
The driving force behind their negativity toward Obama is the belief that his actions and goals are un-American.  Throughout the focus groups, people repeatedly invoked “Obama’s Socialist Agenda” – with the occasional communism comment thrown in.  Participants said it is this socialist agenda – which underlies all of Obama’s policies seeking to make citizens more dependent on the state – that has put people over the edge and launched a movement that has been percolating for a long time.

The subject that may have drawn the most attention to the Tea Party movement was their vocal opposition to health care reform – and that may be contributing to the perception of hostility more broadly in the electorate.  The new health care law was a keystone for their opposition to government intrusion into their lives.  Just 3 percent give it a warm rating.   But it is worth noting that among non-Tea Party supporters, a respectable 48 percent give the new health care law a warm rating.

Tea Party supporters give very low ratings to the mainstream media – networks such as ABC, CBS and NBC.  Only 7 percent give the media a warm rating – confirming the intense distrust of the media in the focus groups. They are seen as a cheerleader for President Obama, and have been since the beginning of the campaign.  This distrust extends to network news – ABC, CBS, and NBC are all seen as biased – and CNN referred to as “the Communist News Network.”

In Beck We Trust
Glenn Beck is the most highly regarded individual among Tea Party supporters of the people we tested. He scores an extraordinarily high 75 percent warm rating, 57 percent very warm.
This affinity for Beck came through very clearly in the focus groups. The only news source that participants said they could trust was Fox.  Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity were cited as people who “are not afraid to tell it like it is” and support their arguments with solid facts.  Beck was undoubtedly the hero in these groups.  Participants consider him an “educator” (in contrast to the popular Rush Limbaugh who is an “entertainer”) who teaches people history and puts himself at risk because he exposes the truth.  In the words of a woman in Ft. Lauderdale, “I would trust my life in his hands.”

Economic Uncertainty ?
When asked what they (Tea Partiers) thought of the country’s economic situation or their own personal situation, focus group members would repeatedly revert back to talking about how bad Obama is and that the government needs to get out of our lives.  Any discussion of jobs or recovery turned to “all the new jobs are government and census jobs which don’t do anything for our economy.”
These groups suggest that the Tea Party movement is not fueled by the economic situation in the country.  Yes, there were a lot of economic concerns among the non-college educated women, but for the other three groups this was just not the issue.  In the open-ended discussion at the beginning of the groups, they rarely brought up the economy unprompted.  And when asked what they thought of the country’s economic situation or their own personal situation, they would not engage

Pretty foreboding Stuff about parts of our Population Folks. Time for some Neighbor to Neighbor re-education on our part.

This memo from Democracy Corps is based on focus groups and polls conducted in April, May and June by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps and Citizen Opinion. All surveys were based on telephone interviews with likely voters, conducted on the following dates: April 17-20, 2010 among 872 likely voters, May 15-18, 2010 among 875 likely voters and June 19-22, 2010 among 867 likely voters. The margin of error for the combined 652 strong supporters is 4 percentage points, for the 243 activists it is 6.5 percentage points. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Letter from Rob Thomas

I wanted to alert your Lewis & Clark Chapter to the proposed construction of a 500kV power line by Northwestern Energy to run down the Beaverhead River and through the Camp Fortunate area. These 1' diameter high-voltage lines will be strung on towers that are up to 180 feet tall! They plan to place 6 per mile, and they will run right along the Lewis and Clark Path along the Beaverhead River, impacting sites like Clark's Lookout and Rattlesnake Cliffs. Attached is a schematic of the towers, a map showing the routes and a list of concerns from the folks in the Whitehall area (another Lewis and Clark route that will be impacted). I would appreciate it if you could distribute this to your membership, and if they are inclined, to write to the paper (especially the Missoulian) expressing their concerns. 

Just one last bit of helpful information regarding the proposed Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) project and my personal plea (from the depth of my heart) to write a short letter to the newspapers if you are even mildly concerned about the impacts of this 500kV line on our community. From ranching to recreation, our economy and well being in Dillon are tied to landscape. Here are just some of the things to think about if this project happens:

1. The towers are at least 140 feet tall (the Statue of Liberty is 111 feet tall from heal to head!).

2. There will be between 4 and 6 towers per mile and at least some of them will have strobe lights!
3. The main line runs down and crosses the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Red Rock Rivers (see attached map).
4. Additional lines are proposed to run down the Jefferson and Ruby Rivers, intersecting in Dillon (see attached map)!
5. Negative economic impacts to ranching and farming, the fishing industry, real estate, tourism, geology camps and UMW recruiting.
6. Decreased property values for all of us.
7. Increased risk of disease associated with the electromagnetic radiation.
8. Increased power rates (i.e., bigger bills for you and me).

9. Not one volt of this power is available to Montanan's.

10. They say it is a line for wind power, yet Montana does not have 500kV of wind power available (e.g., NWE is building a natural gas plant right now in Anaconda).

11. Negative impacts to wildlife and wildlife corridors, increased noxious weed problems and unparalleled habitat destruction.

This is not a done deal. You can do something about it! The most important thing we can do is write letters to the newspapers (contact information attached) and the Beaverhead County Commissioners (who are in support, even though county commissioners from Jefferson and Silver Bow Counties are not). It will make a difference. 

Please, please, please act now before it is too late. Thanks for considering.

Rob Thomas - Dillon, MT

MSTI Meetings On July 22, 2010 at Montana Western College, Dillon MT

Hey Folks, Just Passing on some important information here I think you should be a Part of.  Northwest Energy is contemplating running a huge powerline  mostly following the Wonderful rivers in our County.
The scenic Jefferson Valley. The geological wonder at Notch Bottom on the Big Hole River. Views of the Pioneer Mountains from Dillon. The world-class trout fishery of the Beaverhead River, are all at risk of being lost, including eminent land takeover of private ranchland for this proposed Powerline. We are currently inviting you for your help in stopping Northwest Energy from attempting to pull this boondoggle off and we need your help.

On July 22, at 4 pm, we are having a MSTI meeting to inform the Public what chicanery Northwest Energy is up to, and how you can help Us fight this. Professor Rob Thomas and special Guests will be explaining what you can do to help support keeping Northwest from spoiling our lands.

Later in the Evening at 6 PM Democratic Candidate Dennis McDonald will be on hand to listen to your concerns about MSTI, and firm up his Commitment to keep Montana Green and Rural. Though these two meetings are actually different events they both have to do with MSTI.

Please Join us at the "Great Room" on the second floor at the  Swysgood Technology Center at starting at4 P.M. July 22,2010 for the Anti MSTI Meeting and stay if you will, to get to know Dennis McDonald the Democratic Candidate for Congress who we think is a great choice for our way of life in Montana.

 Here is a link to an informational website about the MSTI powerline proposal. Please pass this on and help keep the public informed about this extremely important issue that effects our rural places.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Montana spends millions on illegal immigrants, new study finds

Montana spends millions on illegal immigrants, new study finds

Wendy Sefsaf, communications director for the Immigration Policy Center (IPC), said the FAIR report only examines one side of the issue.
“What they never do is contrast it with contributions,” Sefsaf said of the FAIR analysis. “They always look at fiscal costs and we try to bring in benefits to balance it out.”
A fact sheet released by the IPC, a non-partisan research and policy center also headquartered in Washington, D.C. says illegal immigrants provide millions of dollars in productivity for the Montana economy.
“If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Montana, the state would lose $96.3 million in economic activity, $42.8 million in gross state product, and approximately 720 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group,” the fact sheet states.
Martin said while spending is estimated to be lowest in Montana, there is statistically no significant difference among spending by the states with the lowest number of illegal immigrants. Montana is one of seven states that have an estimated illegal immigration population of 5,000 or less. The others are Maine, Nebraska, Vermont, Wyoming, and both Dakotas.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hopefully the Beginning of the End for the Gulf Oil Spill!

Live Camera Feed of the Deep Horizon Spill Below!!! 
So can we imagine it?. The Oil stopping and finally being capped, and the beginning of a cleanup that will take a decade, as we monitor how the oil and dispersants will effect the ecology of the Gulf coast well into our Grandchildren's life as adults.

An entire way of life regarding fishing gone forever to families who have put shrimp and crab on our dinner plates for over two generations? How well, will the government treat those farmers of the sea in the years to come, whose businesses are devastated ? How will we save the animal life of over 70 species, which are already endangered or on the threatened list from becoming extinct???

Imagine a spill of this magnitude on land. A slick of oil the size of the entire Counties of Beaverhead and Madison combined. You step out of your house to fumes that make you sick, and your children have trouble breathing while rashes break out all over there bodies. The Cattle on you ranch lay dying, robins and finches lay covered with oil at you feet, and your fields will be too contaminated to grow crops for ten to a hundred years.

And all the while this BP company that caused this mess... flew over your fields time and time again spraying dispersants, that sunk the oil beneath the dirt of you fields making it impossible to save the organic matter that made your lands so fertile. Driving chemical toxicity into your well water and into underground streams. Tainted water that flows for hundreds of miles and pops up into the Majestic Yellowstone Valley, or the streams of the Grand Tetons.

Think about this Montanans... As there would be no more hunting, or fishing, because the wildlife would have died off or been poisoned. Can you imagine the smell of decay as the forests wilt and no wildflowers ever came up again in spring.

This is what those people must live with at the gulf Coast now, and Republican Politicians are siding with Big Oil. Especially our Denny Rehburg the Republican Congressman up for re-election this fall.  Those same Republican Politicians who don't give a rats ass about us hard working people, want to control the Congress and the Senate this fall. Are you gonna go ahead and vote for the Party of "NO"??

If you allow these sympathizers of big business that access, by voting for them in November you will have a disaster like this waiting in the wings for Montana. Coal Mining, to supply other states dirty energy needs, will pollute the air we breath, and the water we drink no matter which county of Montana you live in. And the only pockets who will be enriched is Big Coal Companies like Northwestern, who is already scheming to destroy our county with MSTI.

Don't let big business destroy our state! Allow our state to be protected for your grandchildren, with thoughtful, smart people by keeping/ putting the Democrats in power. Otherwise we will not see clean technology save our lands with wind and solar energy for our future generations.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fighting Northwestern Energy

Try to keep Thursday evening, July 22, open to attend a meeting at the college about stopping NorthWestern Energy's billion-dollar Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) project.  The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.  We don't know yet exactly where it will take place on the campus, but we will update this blog when we have the meeting site.
Dennis McDonald, Montana's Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, will be at the meeting.  He is leaning very heavily toward opposing MSTI and I think we can help him firm up his position.  His opponent, Denny Rehburg of course, is firmly behind NorthWestern Energy, and destroying our environment.
In November, there is a clear choice to make your vote between the Candidates. We are betting, once you meet Dennis McDonald, you will know he is the better choice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Guns in Chruch! Really? Republicans Again? Figures!

As quoted from Jason Linkens @ the Huffington Post If you're like most Americans, there's probably been a time in your life when you've been sitting in church, listening to a particularly ennui-inducing homily or enduring another warbly version of "Holy Holy Holy" and thought, "Man! I could really reach for some steel right now, squeeze off a few rounds, and let these fools know what the score is!" Well, in Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal has recently signed into law a measure that would allow you to at least feel comforted by the presence of your gun in the house of the Lord.Read more at From the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Rehberg Sues Billings For Wildfire?????

"Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), fresh off his Republican primary win, filed a lawsuit Friday against the City of Billings and the Billings Fire Department for damages sustained in a 2008 fire. Rehberg is the developer of record for the 1,000-acre subdivision that is managed by his wife.
The lawsuit, which seeks an award to be determined at trial, says that the fire department "breached its duty" during the July 2008 fire. The Rehbergs are claiming damages for the loss of trees and ground cover in an area they intended to develop.

Rehberg is not the first Montana politician to take on firefighters. Former Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) made headlines in 2006 when he had an airport altercation with firefighters flown in from Virginia following a 143-acre fire. Burns accused the firefighters of doing a "poor job" and not allowing ranchers to fight fires as they saw fit. Burns lost his reelection bid later that year.
Rehberg himself is no stranger to the legal system, as he has been involved in legal proceedings for the last year a boat crash led to felony alcohol charges against the driver, Montana State Sen. Greg Barkus."

When are all of us Montanans going to grow up and get rid of this guy Rehberg? Aren't we sick of this drunk yet?

He hasn't written a single bill to protect Montanans for over a year! He is part of the Good old boy's party of "No" which has included no extended unemployment benefits for some of our population, still hit hard by the President Bush's financial melt-down of Wall Street in September of 2008.

Denny is only worried about his own pocketbook, suing Montanans for a wildfire (an act of nature not men). Is it the Billings firefighters fault or city of Billings? Shouldn't he be thanking them for saving what they could of his property, not penalizing his constituents?  WE can do better then this Montana! Vote McDonald for our new Representative in Congress!

Friday, July 2, 2010

"The Case Against MTSI" Sent to the Editor of the Dillon Tribune

We are not all Republican in this state as a writer from Twin Bridges would tell you. There are opposing views to ludicrous ideas about how energy should function. Northwest would have you believe that the state (that means all of us) would be enriched by setting electric towers along the very stable economy that brought us Montanans more wealth then this corporation ever has... That is our river basins, and tourist trade in fishing, hunting and scenic beauty. Northwest would tell you that it needs to build these metal energy blights because they are not intelligent enough to use the existing grids (which can handle increased output). Our President asked for smart grids, not more grids. Numerous studies have already shown that building more grids is not the answer to more energy.

And here is more to think about. I was at an energy fair here at the college a year ago and asked the Northwest representative why we were not using wind and solar power here. The winds are constant, around 5-20 miles a day and we have full sun over three hundred days a year in Beaverhead County alone. Surely striking a deal with farmers for land use in new viable energy production would bring farmers new income, and new jobs into the area for maintenance.

His answer was pretty simple, they are a coal company! They do not want the headache of setting up power collection points or paying out monies to hundreds of energy producers.

 Why not? I said. California does it. PG&E help's customers set up solar grids on their houses that eventually pay people back in full for the energy the panels produce.

We do that, but we only take off so much of the bill a month. he retorted.

You mean you want the energy, but you are unwilling to pay the whole amount?

Do you know what kind a headache that would cause in our financing department?

So you are basically discouraging it

No, we just don’t want it to take over our entire business.

Folks, they do not care about us or our environment, they wish to continue burning coal, and loping off mountain tops to get at it. Poisoning our rivers and streams with lead and arsenic and selling their energy outside of our state while they destroy our state. So please NO MSTI.

Norma Duffy

The Dillon City Emergency Council Hearing on Beaverhead Meats

God, I love politics here. It’s not caught up with the rest of the world. Council People at times scamper out of control, because not enough notice is given to the township of 3500 residents to help in informing the city council of the community’s thoughts on any matter. So when the city council (not all of them mind you) starts to think for themselves, and tries to ram ordinances through thinking it will be good for the coffers of our broke little town. … The shit hits the fan…. Intelligent regular folk come out in droves and screech for justice, just before a major foo-pa is created by city government.

Sometimes the council listens, and sometimes it does not…. But today our little city almost bit off more than it can chew. It almost put a kill floor for a meat packing place in the middle of town.

To put things in perspective here, about the tiny town of Dillon; the City and county here have no local zoning code, no local building codes, they rely on the state’s basic guidelines sometimes to help them, but alias they don’t even have a good interpretation of that, to preserve what is a terrific little town in southwest Montana from sliding under the weight of bad decisions. We are well on our way to looking like a giant strip mall, and not a quaint little western town anymore!

The Owner of the meat house is not the villain here. The owner is a reputable business man who markets great local beef and wanted to expand his business. Somehow he was assured in the last couple of months that this was a done deal to permit his new building, and expand his business. So much so, was his belief, that he went ahead and started retrofitting his business, to its new task.

The citizens though, had every reason to worry, because they were not keep in the loop… my guess there was some secret handshakes and ex-parte conversation between someone in the council and the business owner that made the little Ibyville area of Dillon wondering if their property value would go down to zip, or if there would be a stench from the killing of numerous animals a week…  No one at the city went to the effort of Montana law to publically notice those very people who lived by the little plant of such changes being reviewed by mail. No one is really certain if the sewer system could handle all of the wash down of the plant. No one knows if the meat plant owner’s implemented Ideas and possible expansion of business down the road, would keep 1000 pound animals from escaping from his little plant, or find his future packaged beef steak running down Montana Street, and creating havoc in some residential neighborhood close by. Nobody ever took the time to investigate the myriad of problems that could bubble up in placing a Kill floor in a residential area! No one.

As usual, certain Republican city council members who evaded getting booted out in the general election went back to business as usual in making bad decisions. The owner of the little plant, is a Republican politician himself, who knew he was working with the very same people who caused the county and city money problems in the past… so why was he surprised at the betrayal? He actually allowed them to pull the wool over his eyes again.

The citizens got what they wanted for now, no permit for a kill floor in town, but this story is not over folks. The meat owner can ask for new permit, a variance in a zoning code that doesn’t exist in this city… And certain city council members still think they can place light industrial within the city limits which by Montana state code they cannot… so keep up the fight little citizens! Your nightmares are just beginning to unfold for another 2 years of Republican chicanery!

Lastly we need this guys business to succeed here, like a lot of Mom and pop organizations in town. It was in the cities best interests, in the beginning of negotiations with this meat company to swap land with this guy to the outskirts of town so he could fill the hole other meat packers in our area failed to do, and expand his business with glee in an area set aside for light industry (If we had zoning laws first). And down the line, he would hire new workers to ply his goods as his business grew bigger and stronger.

 It was in the best interest of everyone involved to be honest with the citizens of Dillon. The city council (and not all of them) failed again to assert the principles of transparent  government in Dillon! There was a way to keep all parties happy, and again the city council members of Dillon failed the test of good government!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Do Republicans really know our Country's Founding Paperwork? NO!

The word "God" does not appear within the text of the Constitution of the United States. After spending three-and-a-half months debating and negotiating about what should go into the document that would govern the land, the framers drafted a constitution that is secular. The U.S. Constitution is often confused with the Declaration of Independence, and it's important to understand the difference.

The Declaration of Independence is seen as that document that established the new nation of the United States. It was written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776. It was signed by the Continental Congress and sent to King George III of England. It is a very eloquent document that is celebrated every July 4, but it is not the law of the land. It is a statement of sentiments directed to King George III in reaction to unfair taxation. The U.S. Constitution was ratified on March 4, 1789 -- thirteen years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence refers to "the Creator:"
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document; it is not the U.S. Constitution. Foes of the principle of separation of church and state often refer to the word "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence as proof that the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended for the United States to be ruled by a soveriegn being. Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States Constitution was written and ratified by elected officials representing a coalition of Enlightenment rationalists and evangelical Christians who were deeply concerned about entanglements between religion and government.

"It is true that the literal phrase 'separation of church and state' does not appear in the Constitution, but that does not mean the concept isn't there. The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."
What does that mean? A little history is helpful: In an 1802 letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson, then president, declared that the American people through the First Amendment had erected a "wall of separation between church and state." (Colonial religious liberty pioneer Roger Williams used a similar phrase 150 years earlier.)

Jefferson, however, was not the only leading figure of the post-revolutionary period to use the term separation. James Madison, considered to be the Father of the Constitution, said in an 1819 letter, "[T]he number, the industry and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church and state." In an earlier, undated essay (probably early 1800s), Madison wrote, "Strongly the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States."

As eminent church-state scholar Leo Pfeffer notes in his book, Church, State and Freedom, "It is true, of course, that the phrase 'separation of church and state' does not appear in the Constitution. But it was inevitable that some convenient term should come into existence to verbalize a principle so clearly and widely held by the American people....[T]he right to a fair trial is generally accepted to be a constitutional principle; yet the term 'fair trial' is not found in the Constitution. To bring the point even closer home, who would deny that 'religious liberty' is a constitutional principle? Yet that phrase too is not in the Constitution. The universal acceptance which all these terms, including 'separation of church and state,' have received in America would seem to confirm rather than disparage their reality as basic American democratic principles."

Thus, it is entirely appropriate to speak of the "constitutional principle of church-state separation" since that phrase summarizes what the First Amendment's religion clauses do-they separate church and state.
Religious Right activists have tried for decades to make light of Jefferson's "wall of separation" response to the Danbury Baptists, attempting to dismiss it as a hastily written note designed to win the favor of a political constituency. But a glance at the history surrounding the letter shows they are simply wrong.
As church-state scholar Pfeffer points out, Jefferson clearly saw the letter as an opportunity to make a major pronouncement on church and state. Before sending the missive, Jefferson had it reviewed by Levi Lincoln, his attorney general. Jefferson told Lincoln he viewed the response as a way of "sowing useful truths and principles among the people, which might germinate and become rooted among their political tenets."

Excerpts taken from:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Republicans: Lock your door, hide the women, and go Tea Party yourself ... The Democrat's are here!!

Well  as a matter of fact we have always been here, but somehow after the 2008 national elections, we became outlaws against conservative thinking!

A Republican couple, friends of mine for over twenty years now thinks: I as a Democrat became a secret Muslim overnight when president-elect Barack Hussein Obama took office??? This is the absolute truth folks! Me? Ha ha ha!! I thought I knew who my friends were...If this wasn't so funny, and horribly unnerving regarding the state of far right conservatism, I would have just brushed it off as the eccentric behavior of a older couple in their fifties.

The problem is I am in my fifties too! and I don't think like they do. Why? because I do not watch Fox news nightly. I like the majority of Americans in this country who have access to a television watch NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and UniVision instead. Otherwise known as true American T.V..

First, let me give you an example to prove to people in the conservative bally wick that FOX is not the number one station in the USA. The population of the USA is somewhere in the 210 million range, and only 1.6 million people watch Fox news daily. So what is everyone else watching? Obviously not Fox. Fox is not American TV. It is Aussie television with an American twist. A tabloid press discovered by Republican fear peddlers, all paid for by a foreign guy in white skin from Australia.

There is no free press in Australia, it is under heavy government control as well as their internet. So Fox CEO Rupert Murdock has been in the propaganda profession a long time in his county of origin, and he knows how to use propaganda to strike fear in the residents of any country including ours!

To those people who sit glued watching a television news program from Fox daily, I fear for you American minds!

I believe in life liberty and the pursuit of happiness regarding all Americans. I believe in the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. I believe in the laws of this country as written.I do not think they are up to any interpretation, including my own; except by the courts, were both sides of an issue are heard before a decision is made. I believe in simple majority for forming law. We all grow up believing that at one time, but when an American of different color became president.... the Republican far right went out of their collective minds.

I fear for your sanity conservatives. I wish you well, but you are no longer the majority in politics, and at the rate  your political mind melt towards reality is going... you won't be coming back any time soon. Thank God, for that, and the majority of citizens of this country!