Utterly Meaningless » 2008 » October

    Filed on October 31, 2008 at 8:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    I mean the death of the Fair Tax.

    I had never given any thought to how easy the (misnamed) Fair Tax would be to demagogue. Today I saw an ad that said some candidate would destroy our economy as she supports a 23% sales tax on everything you buy: food, housing, clothing.

    It’d be devastating to a politician who isn’t making the (misnamed) Fair Tax the centerpiece of their campaign.


    Filed on at 5:57 am under by dcobranchi

    Can’t resist putting up this quote from Obama:

    “Contrary to the rumors that you’ve heard, I was not born in a manger,” Obama said. “I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth.”

    I’m sure the deranged among the right will sieze on this like they do every other “gaffe” from Obama.


    Filed on October 30, 2008 at 8:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    A friend passed this one along. I think the majority of HERP&ES sufferers will appreciate it.


    Filed on at 7:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    Seen (in 3″ tall letters) on the back of a pick-up truck here in Fayetteville:

    I’m a Republican because not everyone can be on welfare


    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    P.Z. Myers has a post of biblical proportions up. Hilarious!


    Filed on October 29, 2008 at 9:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    The wackos have really come out of the woodwork from under their rocks.

    Liberal Obama is not our Isaac

    Barack Obama was rated by D.C. insiders’ weekly of choice, National Journal, as the “most liberal member” of the U.S. Senate. Remember the “l-word”? Isn’t it strange how it has disappeared from the media lexicon during this election?

    Obama represents all that the Hollywood liberals, the homosexual mafia, the abortionists and pornographers are salivating for in a president. And now, Colin Powell, who has never been anything but a liberal himself, has stuck his finger in the wind and endorsed Obama, as has Ben Bernanke, the Fed chief, even though Obama and Democrat Sen. Chris Dodd were the biggest recipients of Fannie Mae political donations.

    In Genesis, God promised Abraham and Sarah a son to bless all nations. Abe’s patience failed and he illicitly sired Ishmael by Hagar prematurely. Ishmael became the progenitor of nations, which have troubled his descendants ever since.

    As a Republican, I would be pleased to see an African-American become president. But don’t choose Ishmael before God sends you your Isaac!

    Rev. Jeffrey Long


    Filed on at 1:48 am under by dcobranchi

    I’d be worried about now. Fortunately, there’s not, so I’m not.


    Filed on October 28, 2008 at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    John McCain came to town today.

    One of the many things that Republican John McCain doesn’t need is tire trouble, but that’s exactly what he got today.

    Before McCain traveled to the Crown Coliseum for his campaign rally, his motorcade swiftly buzzed out of the airport — then came to a halt only a few blocks later.

    The explanation, according to campaign adviser Mark Salter, was the sport utility vehicle in which McCain and wife Cindy were riding had a flat tire.


    Filed on at 5:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Are Republicans really so ignorant that they think that cutting spending as the nation heads into what is likely to be a deep recession is a good idea? Or do they just think that Americans are too ignorant to know how stupid an idea it is?


    Filed on at 4:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Woot! has a great description of today’s product. Sadly hilarious.


    Filed on October 27, 2008 at 3:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    Some parents shouldn’t be.

    WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) — An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair.

    The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club, police Lt. Lawrence Vallierpratte said.

    Via FaytoZ


    Filed on at 4:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Republicans will do anything they can (even if it’s illegal) in order to stay in power.


    Filed on October 26, 2008 at 8:39 am under by dcobranchi

    This Op/Extra column in the NYT is worth a read. It summarizes, I think, quite well what’s happened to me and my colleagues over the last decade or so. Science is, by nature, apolitical. And well into the ’90s scientists were relatively non-partisan. Politics and science seemed to live in separate universes. And then the Republicans declared war on science and rationality. And now they’ve lost us forever.

    UPDATE: P. Z. Myers has a post up on a related topic.


    Filed on at 4:14 am under by dcobranchi

    …who won’t let this idiot vote on polluting our state constitution with a ban on gay marriage:

    There are reasons to allow vote on gay marriage

    Our Democrat-controlled state legislature for the fifth time failed to allowed N.C. voters to determine if a marriage must be between one man and one woman at one time. Respected friends have succumbed to “tolerance” and asked why not? Here is my reply.

    Homosexuality is associated with higher risk sexual behaviors, increased anal cancer, STDs, HIV/AIDS, skin-to-skin diseases such as HPV and herpes, higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse and depression, and gender confusion with offspring.

    A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine warns that a drug-resistant and potentially deadly Staph infection is spreading rapidly among homosexual men. Men are 13 times more likely than other groups to contact a specific strain of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, transmitted by close skin-to-skin contact.

    Studies have shown children do best when raised in a two-loving-parent home.

    Legalization of homosexual marriage would mean every public school would be required to teach it as normal. Foster care and adoption agencies would have to accept all forms of gender identity couples; the Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts have opted out of the system.

    Long- or short-term HIV partners would be covered under all health insurance programs, drastically increasing premiums to cover medical costs. Partners would be eligible for Social Security, a benefit system already broken.

    Religious organizations will no longer be able to preach the Gospel because it becomes hate speech. Male and female specific organizations could no longer exist, etc., etc.

    Raymond N. Miller

    I love the slippery slope arguments.


    Filed on October 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t have a clue who/what Hollister is. It could be a homeschooling thing. I bet my kids don’t know, either.


    Filed on at 3:06 pm under by dcobranchi


    On purity rings:

    “While I respect people who wear them, it is simply not my cup of tea,” said the home-schooled 15-year-old. “I’ve already lost my virginity, and I’ll probably lose it again before marriage. So, there’s really no point in me wearing one.


    Filed on at 3:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    At least that’s the way some of the far right fringe will choose to misinterpret this statement:

    Q. Do you support home schooling?

    A. Barack Obama respects the decisions reached by some parents to home school their children, provided those parents are conforming to the laws and regulations set forward by their states governing home-based instruction.


    Filed on at 2:51 pm under by dcobranchi

    I hope the kid is okay:

    LAKE STEVENS, Wash. — The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office says a 13-year-old Lake Stevens boy who has a passion for the outdoors and has talked about going on a cross-country trip ran away nearly two weeks ago.


    Hover says the boy ran away the day he was scheduled to start attending classes outside the home. He had been home-schooled his entire life and Hover says he may have been upset at the prospect of starting public school.


    Filed on October 24, 2008 at 5:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    Contrary to what Sarah Palin “thinks.”


    Filed on at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

    Click on over. You won’t regret it.


    Filed on at 6:15 am under by dcobranchi

    Oil is a renewable resource. I read it in my local paper, so it must be true.


    Voters can control ‘wind-up doll’ politicians

    “More drilling won’t lower prices,” says the headline on a Sept. 24 op-ed by Rep. Pricey Harrison, co-chair of the N.C. Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change. Harrison’s whole article is a plagiarism of what has been reported by the media and every power-happy Democrat in government at all levels.

    “Not drilling won’t lower gas prices” is my belief, and probably is not original, either.

    None of the alternative energy sources can replace oil. It’s the most efficient and cheap source of energy.

    Electricity is costly to produce, either by wind, nuclear, coal or water power. There are not enough of these types of power producers, and they all have drawbacks. They’re all more than 10 years away from replacing oil as our principal source of power.

    Electrically powered cars have a short range, need frequent recharging and the replacement costs of the batteries will be more than most of the cars will be worth.

    Oil is a product of natural earth forces. It is renewable.

    Our politicians never tell us the whole truth, only that which strengthens their view.

    Most of our presently elected officials are wind-up dolls controlled by long-term incumbents. Harrison is named correctly for those views: “Pricey.”

    The vote is the key to control these politicians. On Election Day, we need to wind them up.

    Everyone talks about how great our country is. They’re correct, but fail to recognize that our country was born of anarchy. Hopefully, it won’t take anarchy to save it.

    Fred Raber
    Spring Lake

    I wonder if this LttE was written in crayon.


    Filed on October 23, 2008 at 7:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    Scotty McClellan’s a major league rodent.


    Filed on at 6:56 am under by dcobranchi

    The Republican chairman in my county is a complete and total idiot. The other day he said early voters were cheapening the outcome of the elections. Today he pens an utterly incoherent Op/Ed.


    Filed on October 22, 2008 at 9:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Let this one be true. Marilyn Musgrave is Mike Farris’ personal lap dog. Dumping her is a blow for the Dominionists. My very first campaign contribution ever was to her opponent a couple cycles back. Better late than never, for sure.


    Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    I was unaware that NJ mandates the flu vaccine for pre-schoolers. I’d guess it’s an annual requirement, even though the Times is silent on that.


    Filed on October 21, 2008 at 6:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is going to be probably the oddest request that I’ve ever made here. I need some folks to write a LttE of my local paper. Like I said, odd. In town here there’s a City Councilman, Charles Evans, who is a real grandstander. There are no municipal elections in Fayetteville this year. But even with him not running for anything at all, someone’s been running an organized letter-writing campaign on his behalf. Once per week, the Fayetteville Observer gets a glowing letter from one of his constituents. I can’t figure out what the angle is, but it’s annoying as hell. So, what I’d like to do is send a whole bunch of letters to the editor of the paper. Each letter would mention the obvious letter-writing campaign and ask rhetorically what the purpose was. I’ve already received an okay from the editor, who is a friend and equally suspicious of Evans’ letters. I thought it would be really funny if he got letters from across the US and Canada.

    So, is anyone up to writing a letter to the editor of the Fayetteville Observer?


    1) Write a brief letter mentioning the apparent ongoing letter-writing campaign for Charles Evans and your concern that it seems fishy.
    2) Include your name, hometown, and contact info (phone or email address).
    3) Send it to Tim White with the subject heading “Letter to the Editor.”
    4) Please cc me on the email (daryl@cobranchi.com).



    Filed on October 20, 2008 at 1:12 am under by dcobranchi

    A local QOTD:

    Ralph Reagan, chairman of Cumberland County’s Republican Party, said he was against the entire early voting process because it puts too much of a burden on election officials. He added that early voting also allows uninformed citizens to vote, which he argued “cheapens” the outcome.

    “We’ll survive early voting,” Reagan said. “It’s just wrong.”

    I worked one of the early vote stations on Sunday. 444 people got to vote. That’s 444 people who won’t have to stand in line on 11/4 and 444 people who don’t have to worry about the Republicans pulling some kind of voter suppression routine on them.

    UPDATE– My response will be published as a LttE:

    I am lazy and uninformed.

    In recent days, early voting has been attacked on the website and in the pages of the Observer. Early voters have been referred to as lazy and as wanting to have the rules changed for their benefit. Then on 10/20 the chairman of the Cumberland County Republican party referred (http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=307950) to early voters as uninformed and said we cheapen the outcome of the elections. I beg to differ.

    I voted early and have been working at the polls during the early vote period. The people who came out at 6 o’clock on that first Thursday morning were hardly lazy or uninformed. Instead, they were knowledgeable, enthusiastic citizens, eager to cast their ballot in this historic election.

    The Republican party was opposed to the early voting bill when it came up in the General Assembly. They’re still opposed to early voting. It seems they believe that the more people vote, the worse are their chances in the elections. They believe we’re too uninformed to vote for the best person for the job.

    Prove them wrong.


    Filed on October 19, 2008 at 7:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Why do we have to have the “universal pre-school” debate every few years? It’s been at least a decade that we’ve known that for the majority of kids there is no lasting effect. Only for the most deprived do Head Start-type programs make a difference.


    Filed on at 6:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Obama raised $150M in September.


    Filed on at 5:25 am under by dcobranchi


    We should have let them stay a Republic.


    Filed on October 18, 2008 at 3:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    Check out this Obama rally in St. Louis.


    Filed on at 6:45 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m still famous. 🙂 Third day in the paper:

    Merit: For early voters, who turned out by the thousands to cast their ballots on Thursday, the first day of the state’s “one-stop” voting. About 3,000 Cumberland County residents voted Thursday. (The first voter, Daryl Cobranchi, a member of the Observer’s Community Advisory Board, showed up at 3:30 a.m. to claim his place in line.)

    Obama’s in town tomorrow. An acquaintance suggested that I have to get in line early again. I don’t think so. It took me two days to recover from Thursday’s adventure.


    Filed on October 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    If you’re not reading the Irvine Housing Blog, you should be. Republican finger-pointing (at poor brown-skinned folks) notwithstanding, the housing/Wall Street crisis is due entirely to too much leverage. And it’s not even close to finished unfolding. Some of the largest hedge funds are still leveraged at close to 10:1. If the market continues to fall, their positions will have to be quickly unwound, sending the market down still further. Perhaps the only thing keeping the whole system afloat right now is the hedge funds’ restrictive redemption policies.


    Filed on at 1:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Brought to you by the Fayetteville Observer. There was method to my madness. I figured the paper wouldn’t be able to resist putting the story in the paper. So it would give me an opportunity for a free dig at the GOP. My plan would have worked, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids being misquoted. 🙂 I said “eight years.”


    Filed on October 14, 2008 at 6:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    Let’s see– McCain’s lead for the transition (which ain’t gonna ever happen) lobbied for Saddam to get sanctions lifted. I guess that means that McCain was objectively pro-Saddam. How come McCain hates the troops?


    Filed on at 6:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    OneNewsNow.com continues to entertain in their inimitable so-bad-it’s-good way. This time, they’re railing against a proposed charter school in Chicago that would provide a safe have to LGBT kids. Quel horreur!

    The activist also takes issue with the prospective principal of the school — 29-year-old Chad Weiden — who was asked what it would have been like if had had a school like Pride Campus to attend.

    “…[H]e says quote: ‘I would have made progress a lot earlier. I would have had a model of what it meant to be a gay man — that a gay man could be in a committed relationship, a marriage; could have children. I didn’t know that was possible.’

    “Well, it’s not possible,” LaBarbera reacts. “Two men cannot produce a child — and they can’t, quote, ‘have children.'”

    The haters never quit, do they?


    Filed on at 2:18 am under by dcobranchi

    I can’t link this one directly, but click over the the Fayetteville Observer website and then click on the “Islam is the light” banner. Dumb on so many levels.

    UPDATE: Here’s the text version of the article.

    UPDATE II: The permalink for the video.


    Filed on October 13, 2008 at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

    Good piece up at the HuffPo. The interesting bit at the end:

    Finally, and I recognize I wade into choppy waters here, there’s a relationship between a candidate’s religious views and his or her ability to effectively assess risk. Of course, presidents have and will always be profoundly informed by the ethical tenets of their religion, and I see nothing wrong, and much right, with that (though how Bush’s condoning of torture fits in here, I’m not sure).

    But then there’s these types of comments from Palin, who called the Iraqi war “a task from God,” asserting that “there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan” (sorry, but I think God’s plan would have been infinitely better than the one in play). She made a similar point re God’s will in getting their gas pipeline built up there.

    With respect, that’s mixing religion and policy analysis in a way that I fear leads to inadequate risk assessment. Bush never made such revealing statements, but it may be the case that evangelicals don’t always make the best risk assessors.

    I think this is both accurate and true. Evangelicals have a strong bent towards believing that their prayers are personally answered and that, if they sincerely pray about some decision, God will reveal His plan. So an evangelical who prays about something really stupid that they want to do (like, for example, invading Iraq) can easily convince themselves that not only is it a good idea but that it is what God wants them to do.

    Maybe the Founders had a good idea with that whole Wall of Separation thing.


    Filed on at 4:56 am under by dcobranchi

    Natalie has more info.


    Filed on October 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    where black is white and the GOP runs Minitrue.


    Filed on at 4:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    Follow the link.


    Filed on at 4:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    Apparently the idiots on the School Board in Brunswick Co., NC have all moved to Texas and taken positions on the State Board of Education there.

    My business unit at DuPont has a sister operation in Germany. A transfer overseas looks awfully good (even if homeschooling is illegal).


    Filed on at 4:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    And we’re not all anti-vaxxers.

    JACKSON, Miss. — A group of parents say they will home school their children because they do not agree with Mississippi’s mandated vaccination schedule.

    Debra Barnes is one of the parents. She says she would leave Mississippi in a heartbeat if state health officials tried to force her home-schooled children to be immunized.

    Barnes is part of a growing network of parents whose decision to home school their children rests on their belief that mandated vaccinations for school children are a dangerous overreach by state governments. Barnes leads a group of about 200 parents who have problems with Mississippi’s mandated vaccination schedule.

    Some public health officials say they are concerned the growing popularity of home schooling has created gaps in the vaccination safety net, leading to outbreaks of rare childhood diseases.

    Just one more negative that homeschooling gets tied around its neck.


    Filed on at 6:02 am under by dcobranchi

    Apparently not everyone in Brunswick Co. is an ignoramus.

    Although open to the idea of teaching creationism as an elective, other candidates at Tuesday’s forum were firm in stating they wouldn’t try to go beyond that.

    Democrat Tom Simmons, who’s running against Babson in District 4 and is interim director of a hands-on science program for students, said he doesn’t see a place for creationism in science class because it’s faith-based. Democrat John Jones and Republican Olaf “Bud” Thorsen, the candidates challenging Gilbert in District 1, said they wouldn’t want to go against the law on the creationism matter.


    Jones, a born-again Christian, said he thinks creationism belongs in church or at home. The school board can’t afford a lawsuit regarding the teaching of creationism, said Jones, a veteran educator.

    The separation of church and state should be upheld, Thorsen said, adding that he wouldn’t want to force creationism on students and that schools should instead focus on teaching the basics.

    “The issue is to teach students how to read and write,” said Thorsen, a former member of the Brunswick County school board.

    Democrat Christy Judah, also a longtime educator and Cooke’s adversary in District 2, said the school board should follow the state’s stance on creationism in schools, as well as abide by a strict procedure before trying to point out any errors in the curriculum.

    “I’m feeling really uncomfortable with some of these responses,” Judah said of her fellow candidates.


    Filed on October 11, 2008 at 8:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think I’ve found my next energy saving project. It’s a big one. My roof faces east-west, so it’s not particularly well suited. But I have a big open field in the back that could easily accommodate a bunch of cells. I averaged 60 kWh/day in 2008. Assuming we get an average of 8 hours of direct sunshine/day, I’d need a 7.5 kW system to go completely solar. For a typical roof installation, that might run $75,000. A ground-based installation should be a little cheaper. Call it $70,000. Still pretty damn pricey. Except NC has a refundable 35% tax credit and the feds just passed a 30% tax credit. So that $70,000 system is suddenly “only” $17,500 $24,500. The system would pay for itself in about 7 10 years. And since the cells should last 20, that seems to me a pretty good deal.


    Filed on at 7:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    McCain takes faux outrage to the next level.


    Filed on October 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Troopergate report just came out. Finding 1 claims Palin abused her power as Governor in violation of Alaska law.


    Filed on at 10:14 am under by dcobranchi

    From Rasmussen:

    As economic issues dominate, 66% now believe the U.S. economy is in a recession, up eight points from a month ago. Just 8% rate the economy as good or excellent while 66% say it’s in poor shape. Six percent (6%) say economic conditions are getting better while 78% say they are getting worse. The Rasmussen Consumer Index shows both consumer and investor confidence has fallen to new all-time lows.

    Are these the same people who made Christmas trees out of the bubbles on all of their standardized tests?


    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    Slapping a woman around is very presidential.


    Filed on at 5:39 am under by dcobranchi

    The Fair Tax will cure all that ails ye. LOTD:

    The Fair Tax would work better than bailout

    The president’s bailout plan, forcing taxpayers to buy $700 billion worth of bad securities, is madness. Those responsible for this mess aren’t held accountable, while those not responsible are. It’s like shooting a heart attack patient in the desperate hope it will somehow help his heart condition.

    A better plan to restore liquidity and hope to our economy is the Fair Tax. It is a national sales (consumption) tax that replaces the federal income tax.

    Economists agree that a consumption tax is more pro-growth than an income tax. Income taxes penalize (and thus reduce) savings, investment and productivity. These are all things we desperately need. Twenty years of studies have shown that under the Fair Tax, the upper class will be approximately 5 percent better off, the middle class approximately 10 percent better off and the lower class approximately 20 percent better off. Unlike the president’s bailout proposal, under the Fair Tax, we all win and those on the lowest rung win the most.

    Under the Fair Tax, there are no federal taxes on businesses. How could any business in any country with any amount of corporate taxes compete with United States businesses with no corporate taxes? Ross Perot’s whooshing sound will be businesses, jobs and a whole lot of money flooding back into America.

    As usual, Washington has got it all wrong. We don’t need a three-quarter-trillion-dollar anchor around all our necks, we need the Fair Tax. Please contact your congressional representatives and tell them so.

    Stephen Sanders

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