Blunt in trouble

Matt BluntMissouri Governor Matt Blunt is in hot water over a former employee who says he was forced out for trying to get the administration to follow the law. Here's an overview of the scandal:

Eckersley: Hey boss, I don't think you're retaining emails as public records like you're supposed to.

Blunt: Guess, what. You're fired.

Eckersley: Hey reporters, the governor fired me for telling him he was breaking the law.

Reporters: WTF, Blunt?

Blunt: No, he never mentioned mentioned anything of the sort to me. And not all emails are state records.

Reporters: Uh, yeah they are. Have you read the Sunshine Law?

Blunt: Anyways, I fired him because he was working on an outside project on State time.

Eckersley: It was 2 hours of work over 9 months. And I had permission from my boss.

Blunt: Well, we really fired him because there were dirty emails in his inbox.

Reporters: Dude, that's called spam. You don't know anything about computers, do you?

Blunt: Scott Eckersley does drugs.

Eckersley: The hell I do. Hey, Matt, remember that email I sent your staff telling them to stop deleting emails because it's against the law?

Blunt: No such email exists.

Eckersley: I have a copy of it right here.

Blunt: I don't, because I delete my emails. Crap, uh, attention state bar association, I'd like to file a complaint against Scott Eckersley because he repeated his private advise to me in public.

Everyone: So, you're admitting that he discussed email retention with you?

Blunt: Oh, shit.

Skelton on readiness

Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and my congressman, spoke in Kansas City this week about the effect of the war in Iraq on our military readiness.

Why should any of us worry about a military readiness crisis? The lack of readiness of our Army forces that are not currently deployed is of great concern because we depend on those forces to be able to answer the nation’s call in the event of some unforeseen future conflict. Make no mistake, the American military remains a formidable force, even when stretched. But the way things are now, it would be difficult for those forces to respond in a timely manner. Readiness is our insurance policy for national security. ...

Clearly, the most urgent national security issue facing the United States today is the tremendous burden that the war in Iraq is currently placing on our military, in particular the Army and Marine Corps. We must ask whether our significant commitment of forces in Iraq serves our broader national security interests. In my estimation, the answer is no. We are not properly prepared to respond to numerous and readily conceivable security challenges outside of the Middle East. We are taking on a significant level of strategic risk, and it will be years before this problem can be fully solved.

Give 'em hell, Ike!

(via Fired Up Missouri)

Obama speech in Iowa

This speech is already being called a turning point in Barack Obama's campaign.

Number one

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of ExcellenceA few months ago I mentioned that my site was the #2 result on Google when you search for Danny. Well, now I've moved up to the first result. Take that, other people named Danny! Seriously, this seems like a big mistake. Yahoo at least puts Danny Elfman ahead of me.

Paying more and dying sooner

Paying more and dying sooner - This brief article shows how little Giuliani knows about health care and then goes on to summarize a recent study comparing the health care of America and several countries with single-payer systems. I recommend reading this quick article and even looking at the study itself if you have time. Here are a few facts:

  1. The United States spends $6,697 per capita annually on health care, according to the survey—more than twice as much as any of the other countries surveyed.
  2. The United States ranks dead last in life expectancy, at 77.9 years, among the countries surveyed.
  3. Respondents in the United States were less likely than those in any of the other countries to say their health care system “works well”—and much more likely to see a need for “fundamental” change or a total overhaul.
  4. According to the survey, 80 percent of Americans have a regular doctor whom they usually see. That sounds pretty good, until you learn that 84 percent of Canadians, 88 percent of Australians, 89 percent of New Zealanders and Britons, 92 percent of Germans and 100 percent of Dutch respondents surveyed said they had regular doctors.

Why are we so afraid of "socialized medicine" when it's working for every other industrialized country in the world? And where do you think the extra $3000 per year per person that we spend ends up? At least some of that goes to insurance companies, which are required by law to maximize shareholder value. They're in business to make money, which mean paying for as little health care as possible. So, if you're afraid of public health care, then stop for a second and think about who is profiting from that fear. Apparently it's not us.

Barack Obama

The Presidential primaries are less than two months away and I am supporting Barack Obama. After nearly seven years of the George Bush administration and over four years of the war in Iraq, the country needs to see some serious change in our capital city. The Republican candidates are promising more of the same. There are several good candidates in the Democratic field, but Obama stands out on several issues. Here are a few of the reasons why I've decided to vote for him.

Iraq

Obama wasn't in the US Senate when they voted to allow Bush to invade Iraq, but he did go on record at that time opposing the war. He's the only leading candidate from either party with the judgement and foresight to have spoken out about the problems of invading Iraq from the beginning. He also has a clear and sensible plan for getting our combat troops out of Iraq and ending the war. He would leave troops to protect our embassy (relieving private contractors of the task) and fight terrorism, but we would no longer be the occupying power. This is not a fast or irresponsible withdrawal, but it would bring the war to a close by the end of next year.

Diplomacy

An Obama presidency would work together with our allies and use diplomacy with our enemies. He isn't promising to not use the military against Iran, but he is promising to talk to them.

Health

As much as I would like to see insurance companies removed from the picture and free health care for every American (like Canada and the UK have), I understand that a lot of people are afraid of that. Obama's plan isn't as bold as I would like, but he does promise to take on the insurance industry and make affordable health care available to more people. He says, "It's time to let the drug and insurance industries know that while they'll get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair."

Energy

Obama is pledging to use both regulation and funding to move us toward energy independence. In the Senate he's been an outspoken proponent of increasing CAFE standards, which would require new cars to be more fuel efficient. While we're working toward breakthroughs in renewable energy, we need to be using less gasoline.

Lobbyists, corruption and open government

Too often, people in government are making decisions based on the interests of their financial supporters. We'll never have a just government when favors go to the highest bidder. Everyone talks about this problem, but I believe Obama has the best chance to actually change the culture of Washington. He may not be perfect in this area, but here's what I like:

  1. He was a leader in drafting reform legislation in the wake of the Abramoff scandal.
  2. He introduced legislation to open up the earmarking process, which would at least keep deals from being made in secret and slipped into a bill at the last minute.
  3. Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006
  4. He's new enough to Washington that maybe, just maybe, the lobbyists haven't systematically rotted his soul out.

Experience

Obama has held elected office for 10 years. That's longer than Hillary Clinton (6 years), John Edwards (6 years), Rudy Giuliani (8 years), Fred Thompson (9 years) or Mitt Romney (4 years). Prior to entering politics, he was a civil rights lawyer and a constitutional law professor.

You can learn more about Obama's views and plans on his campaign issues page. And you can watch his appearance on Meet the Press for free online.

Colbert on Atheists

Card-carrying members of BS [Big Secularism] have snaked their way into every branch of the federal government, except for the judicial and executive. Did you know that in the House of Representatives and the Senate, there are as many as one self-described atheist currently serving? Democratic Representative Pete Stark of California’s 13th district, to name just one. Just think of it — how are any pro-faith initiatives going to make it into law when Congress is held hostage by the anti-God caucus of Stark, his self and him?
-- Stephen Colbert, I Am America (And So Can You)

Invisible

"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."
-- Delos McKown

Gmail improvements

If you use Gmail, be sure to click on the 'Newer version' link in the upper right corner. They've added message prefetching and it's now amazingly fast.

(via Digg)

Good introduction to evolution

Richard Dawkins - Designed and Designoid Objects

This six-part YouTube video shows a youthful Richard Dawkins explaining evolution to an audience of middle schoolers. If you think evolution sounds far fetched, then take a look at the video. I think he does a brilliant job of explaining the basics of natural selection.

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