Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pants on Fire # 23: Jeeps and China

The Lie: Candidate Mitt Romney said on Oct. 25, "I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America, I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair."

The Truth: As Chrysler, the company that makes Jeeps, responded, “Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce.

Senior vice president for corporate communications Gaulbert Ranieri wrote later that day, “It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats... A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.” 

Auto workers in Ohio and Detroit are outraged. According to Bloomberg, "The United Auto Workers, in press statements and in an Obama-campaign media call yesterday, condemned Romney’s Defiance comments and the subsequent ad

    “'Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about the auto industry and Chrysler’s production plans would know what Mitt Romney said wasn’t true,' UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union’s Chrysler Department, said in an Oct. 27 press release. 

     "Ken Lortz, UAW director of the region that includes Ohio and Indiana, said in an Obama campaign conference call with reporters yesterday that the Romney ad represents 'the lowest form of political tactics.' The spot features 'clever word- smithing' to avoid outright falsehoods, he said, 'but the intent of the ad is completely dishonest.'” 

Chrysler has been ADDING American workers to its Jeep plants in Ohio and Michigan since earlier this year and intends to keep adding them. 

The Romney campaign has also tried to turn around Pres. Obama's bailout of the auto industry into some kind of bankruptcy, even though Romney himself said in 2008 that the country should let the industry go into bankruptcy and all those workers lose their jobs.

Tired of the Election?

You're not the only one. Madame L, possibly like you, too, empathizes with this little girl:

But Madame L is going to keep writing about it because she said she would. And then, after Nov. 6, she hopes to be done with politics for awhile.

Romney, Sandy, and FEMA

Dear Readers,

Remember when Mitt Romney said in an earlier campaign speech that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) should be done away with? Same old story from the Romney and neo-con camp as always: The states should take care of those pesky little emergencies.

So now, as Hurricane Sandy has hit the east coast, flooding big cities and little beach towns, people are wondering what Mr. Romney thinks about FEMA lately. The candidate did attend some kind of made-up "relief" effort earlier today. In Ohio. Promising that he would put the goods people brought on a truck which would take them to someplace where they're needed, "probably New Jersey."

What does New Jersey Governor Chris Christie think about this? He declined, every so politely, Madame L is sure, Mr. Romney's offer to visit the stricken communities of his state.

Meanwhile, after the big relief event in Ohio, reporters tried to get Mr. Romney to comment on FEMA. Here's how that went, from the pool report:

     “Gov are you going to eliminate FEMA?” a print pooler shouted, receiving no response.

     Wires reporters asked more questions about FEMA that were ignored.

     Romney kept coming over near pool to pick up more water. He ignored these questions:

     “Gov are you going to see some storm damage?”

     “Gov has [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?”

     “Gov you’ve been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?”

Here's what's Joan Walsh had to say about that:

     "Romney won’t answer because he can’t. We saw him pivot to the center, to become the white Barack Obama, in the three debates, as he realized his unpopular policies and his contempt for 47 percent of the country was dooming his presidential bid. He’s got no standing now to talk about how he’d handle this disaster. The heroes of Sandy, so far, are the first responders, the cops and firefighters and emergency technicians, the folks evacuating patients from hospitals and trapped citizens from flooding. These are the people who’ve been demonized by Republicans for the last two years:  the public workers who have become the new 'welfare queens.' When Obama pushed a jobs bill that would have helped states and cities avoid laying off such workers, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell derided it as a 'bailout,' and Paul Ryan, of course, voted against it.

     "To top it all off, George W. Bush’s laughable FEMA director, 'Heck of a job, Brownie' Michael Brown, is criticizing Obama for reacting too quickly to Sandy. Are Democrats paying Brown to remind voters of the contrast between Obama’s quiet competence and Bush’s disastrous handling of Katrina?"

Now, there's a conspiracy for you: Pres. Obama probably arranged to have this storm hit when it did, so he could "act presidential" and Romney could act like the light-weight hollow man he is.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coach Laura: Gym Membership

Dear Coach Laura,

Do you think a gym membership is worth it? 



Dear Gym-Jim,

There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a gym. You ask a really good question that's the first one anyone should ask themselves - do you want to go to a gym?  

Here are some advantages to belonging to a gym:
1. Sense of structure. Sometimes just the simple act of driving to a gym forces you to set the time aside and make it regular habit. I know people who come to my classes who say that they're exhausted at the end of the day and would like nothing more than to just go home and put their feet up. But they attend class because it's paid for, it will give them the opportunity to be social,  and they know they'll regret it if they don't go.

Which brings up a second advantage:
2. Social/Community. Having an exercise buddy definitely helps. Go to a gym often enough and you will come across the same people who regularly exercise at the same time as you. You might not have the same specific exercise goals, but you are there for the same purpose. People are there to get exercise, and not to talk about work or relationship or school. This is really helpful in getting you to focus, and keep you from distracting your own mind with the mental clutter that builds up during the day. It's always nice to see a friendly face, and it can help you on days your motivation is not so hot.

3. Experts. The instructors, trainers and other assistants there really do know what they're talking about. They can coach you and provide motivation you may not find otherwise. 

4. Options. Going to a gym provides you with many different choices of activities. If you don't like one thing, there's always something else to try. These classes help provide variety in your workouts, and explore different ways to exercise and improve aspects of your fitness. Without investing in more workout videos at home, a class is an excellent opportunity to explore avenues to effective exercise. If you've never tried yoga or aerobic kickboxing, the gym is a great place to try under the guidance of an instructor. Keep trying until you find what you like and a teacher that you click with. 

Some things to consider:
  • Can you pay monthly? and do you have to sign a contract? Obviously, finances are a huge consideration in getting a gym membership. Don't over-extend yourself financially just for the sake of belonging to a gym. If you're going to go regularly and consistently, then yes! it's totally worth it. 
  • Most gyms will let you come to a few sample classes or workouts on a guest pass. If they don't, that could be a sign that it's not a very reputable facility. So check out lots of different places until you find the perfect fit for you.
  • Get a friend to attend with you! Some gyms have specials if you enroll with a friend or family member.
  • If you have children, is there a childcare facility there that can take care of your children for you while you're working out? A good workout should be time for YOU (no, that doesn't make you selfish) without having little Jimmy tug on your shirt.
So Gym-Jim, you tell ME. Is a gym membership worth it? If you're going to use it, then YES! 
If you're interested in reading more, I really liked this article that has some other things you may not have considered. 
Enjoy your workout!
Coach Laura

Pants on Fire # 22: Romney the Moderate

The Lie: Mitt Romney is essentially a moderate, as he has proven as governor of Massachusetts and whenever he has been allowed to speak freely. The Republican Party is now letting him unleash his moderate self, realizing that the conservative baloney he was preaching to the die-hard converted Tea Partiers the Republicans now embrace won't sit well with the rest of the country. If he's elected, he will turn away from the anti-women, anti-minority, anti-Middle Class views he was forced to pay lip service to.

The Truth: No one knows what Mitt Romney really believes, except that he wants to be President of the United States. He has changed positions on every issue so frequently that he is responsible for the great new word "whip-flop."

In fact, though, if he is elected, Mitt Romney would be stuck with the super-conservatives who have funded his campaign and lent their experience to his campaign. 

As Steve Kornacki writes in, "If Romney wins in two weeks, Republicans may well find themselves with complete control of Washington again. And they will have achieved it by doing nothing but opposing, attacking and obstructing Obama." And the result of that will be continued obfuscation and obstruction. It wouldn't just be a matter of partisanship, but it would be a matter of bullies taking over the classroom and kicking the teacher out. 

It would be a disaster for America.

Vote for Pres. Obama!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pants on Fire # 21: Voter Fraud

The Lie: Democrats and liberal organizations have been committing voter fraud, and it's only the fantastic new Republican-passed laws against voter fraud that will save our great nation. 

The Truth: Instances of actual voter-ID and registration fraud are minuscule (something like 6 cases in the past 20 years), while Republican legislatures and voting officials are actively conducting voter fraud to influence elections in their favor. Now. Especially the Romney campaign.

This letter from a Dear and Gentle Reader elaborates on the issue:  

Dear Madame L,  

I feel like I live in the United States of Iran, where elections are rigged, a religious minority rules, and people in other countries where they have a free press and real news talk about how corrupt our government is. 

How sad is it that I got excited when RTV, the English-language news network, got picked up by my local cable TV news provider? I can now watch a news program where the stories covered aren't chosen according to some American's political persuasion.

I find that exciting because I think I'm getting neither true stories nor the really important stories from any U.S. news sources.

Specifrically, it turns out that, according to these foreign politi-watch groups, the U.s. Republican Party is actually attempting to steal this presidential election!

And now that other countries are sending election monitors here to observe--remember when the U.s. used to be the one that monitored elections in other countries?--local officials in Texas and elsewhere are threatening to harass and arrest these people.  


Voter Fraud, My Goodness

Dear Friend,

Thank you for alerting Madame L to these news articles. Madame L had heard something about this, but as always she appreciates hearing from her Dear Readers with new sources.

The truth is that the Republican Party's supposed attempts to curb so-called voter fraud by Democrats and groups like Acorn (which they managed to shut down over lies and false accusations), the Republicans are themselves guilty of overt and covert attempts to manipulate the elections on many levels.

From the UK Progressive article:
    "Retired NSA analyst Michael Duniho has worked for nearly seven years trying to understand voting anomalies in his home state of Arizona and Pima County. This publication has written extensively about apparent vote machine manipulation in a 2006 RTA Bond issue election that is still being fought in the courts.
     "Said Duniho, 'It is really easy to cheat using computers to count votes, because you can’t see what is going on in the machine.'

    "When Duniho applied a mathematical model to actual voting results in the largest voting precincts, he saw that only the large precincts suddenly trended towards Mitt Romney in the Arizona primary – and indeed all Republicans in every election since 2008 – by a factor of 8%-10%. The Republican candidate in every race saw an 8-10%. gain in his totals whilst the Democrat lost 8-10%. This is a swing of up to  20 point, enough to win an election unless a candidate was losing very badly.
Francois Choquette wondered why the differences were so much larger in larger precincts, and here's what he found, again, quoting from the article:

    "[Choquette] examined and applied all of the normal statistical markers to see where a variance might occur: income level, population density, race, urban vs. rural, even party registration numbers. He found no correlation to explain why Romney votes trended upward while Paul and Santorum votes trended downward -yet only in large precincts.
     "Choquette then looked at all 50 states and found roughly a 10% switch in votes from Democrat to GOP. This was noted in every state except Utah, where the presumption was, as it was Mitt’s religious home state and very conservative, there was no chance of Romney losing and no variance was found."
Why does this not always work? Choquette found that it can be influenced by large vote margins:
     "Choquette even saw in Maricopa County, which is Phoenix and its suburbs, that in 2008 Romney used this technique against John McCain. But McCain beat him by too much for a 10% fraud gain to matter. McCain tried to do the same thing in the general election to President Obama but 9 million votes nationally were too many to make up."
And so, Dear Readers, we learn that our elections have turned into opportunities for unscrupulous and immoral politicians to win what they want, even when it is not what the general public wants. Have we turned into some kind of banana republic? 

We must all fight against this dishonesty in the public arena so our government won't be run by a bunch of crooks!


Madame L