Happy Halloween

31 October 2008

McFast & McFurious

26 October 2008

...is the election over yet?

Press Secretary's 'Zumtrel Flooby' Answer May Be Attempt To Evade Question

24 October 2008

Press Secretary's 'Zumtrel Flooby' Answer May Be Attempt To Evade Question


23 October 2008

http://view.break.com/592648 - Watch more free videos

...is the election over yet?

Democracy Now: ACORN Debate

18 October 2008

Democracy Now hosts a debate between ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis and Cleta Mitchell, a Republican attorney specializing in election law

Bill Moyers: Mark Crispin Miller on Voter Fraud


John Flannery Addresses FOX News' Concerns Over "Vote Fraud"

People like Laura Ingraham are going way overboard on this one. The basic facts are that: (1) ACORN registered 1.3 million new voters; (2) of that 1.3 million, ACORN was legally obligated to turn in all of them - even the questionable ones that they themselves flagged; (3) some of ACORN's workers filled out nonsense names, celebrity names, or just made-up names in an attempt to get paid for doing nothing; (4) of the 1.3 million new registrations turned in, a small percentage (but still in the thousands) were flagged either by ACORN itself, or due to some discrepancy in the records (which includes people changing addresses, misspelling words, and using the name "Tim" instead of "Timothy"); (5) the made-up people will not be voting on election day; (6) it would be prohibitively difficult for a major organized campaign to hire enough people to fraudulently double-vote in the election, since it would require a massive amount of people, those people would risk getting recognized at the polls, and those people would have to forge individual IDs under multiple names; and (7) the Department of Justice under our current President has been called out previously, by Republicans, for chasing ghosts on this alleged "widespread fraud" (keep in mind that this was the basis for the U.S. Attorney purge stemming from the 2006 elections).

Al Smith Dinner

17 October 2008

Part I

Part II

Debate #3: Hatchet/Scalpel '08

15 October 2008

Once again, the viewer reaction polls have Obama winning by wide margins (see here and here).


UPDATE II: There's a new post-debate ad up.


UPDATE IV: From Steve Benen: " 'Joe the Plumber' isn't a licensed plumber, isn't a political independent, doesn't make more than $250,000, and his name isn't even 'Joe.' "

UPDATE V: Meanwhile, in Bizarro World, Rush Limbaugh made this observation: "I saw somebody who seemed irritated when McCain was speaking." Does that sound 100% backwards to anybody else? There is also this gem, where Limbaugh combines backwards analysis with unhinged paranoia: "I saw somebody who almost was close to blowing his cool in terms of facial expressions, and I saw the director cut away from Obama at those times so as to assist Obama in having his facial expressions not broadcast as much as possible." Limbaugh goes on to say that the people at FOX News (yes, that FOX News) are "elites" for saying that Obama won the debate.

UPDATE VI: Make sure to check in with Fact Check after every debate.

UPDATE VII: As a Decided Voter, I've already made up my mind. This was more of a political theater for me. Therefore, I'm happy to see all this post-debate satire (?) floating around.

Eh, it's something. When will this election be over?

UPDATE VIII: McCain-JoeThePlumber '08

Dick Lugar (R-IN) Endorses Barack Obama (D-IL)

Sen. Lugar (R-IN), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, just announced his endorsement of Sen. Obama (D-IL) for President. Back in 2006, the two men teamed up to pass the bipartisan Lugar-Obama non-proliferation bill.

FOX News on Colin Powell

FOX News recently ran this line on their website:

Colin Powell showed off his hip-hop moves at an 'Africa Rising' celebration in London Tuesday, fueling speculation that the former secretary of state is about to endorse Barack Obama for president.

Who on earth would make that kind of inference based simply on the fact that Powell engaged in some "hip-hop dancing"?

UPDATE: CJR knows it.

Anger and Shame

11 October 2008

McCain is now spending pretty much 100% of his advertising money on attack ads, going so far as to falsely accuse Obama of wanting to teach kindergartners how to have sexual intercourse. His wife is out on the campaign trail, arguing that a potential President Obama would be a threat to her son's life and safety ("The day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body"). His soul mate is also out on the campaign trail, arguing that Obama is so anti-American that he has decided to team up with terrorists ("Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.... This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America"). The people who introduce McCain at rallies are increasingly calling him "Hussein."

It's worth pointing out that drug-thief and adulterer Cindy McCain is being dishonest on this one. By her own metric, her own husband John McCain "cast a vote not to fund" her son, since he voted against a budget that included timetables for withdrawal (which are supported by the Iraqi Prime Minister himself and a majority of Americans). McCain has also received abysmal ratings from veterans groups. Did this also put a "cold chill" through her body?

It's also worth pointing out that Sarah Palin was also being dishonest in her incendiary claims. Obama did not "pal around" with terrorists. I recommend reading this article from Annenberg Political Fact Check, and this article from Politifact. Flautist Palin is wildly exaggerating here.

The result of this untrue, misleading and inflammatory rhetoric was obvious. Now, McCain is seeing the results as his supporters get angrier and angrier in their own rhetoric.

From Steve Benen:

The McCain campaign has deliberately been whipping the angry, far-right Republican base into a frenzy. That includes increasing frequency of "Hussein" references, but it also includes looking the other way while campaign supporters exclaim "treason!," "terrorist!," and "kill him!" during official rallies.

On Wednesday, during a McCain harangue against Obama, one man could be heard yelling, "Off with his head!" On Thursday, Republicans erupted when an unhinged McCain supporter ranted about "socialists taking over our country." Instead of calming them down, McCain said the lunatic was "right."....Slate's John Dickerson described the participants' "bloodthirsty" tone.
This video from outside a McCain-Palin rally shows a sample of the anger.

Thankfully, McCain has apparently become ashamed of this circus. At a recent town hall, McCain had to literally grab the mic from a woman who started her question by expressing her fear over Obama because he was "an Arab" (which is actually untrue, despite the fact that prescription drug addict and college fail-out Rush Limbaugh has said the same thing on his nationally broadcast radio program).

McCain is not the only one who gets embarrassed when this anger gets exposed to the public at large. CBS recently filmed a crowd at another McCain-Palin rally, and they focused on an older man holding a toy monkey with an Obama sticker on its forehead. When the man realized that he was on film portraying an African American politician as a monkey, he slowly crumpled up the Obama sticker and handed the toy monkey off to some random child in shame.

Watch CBS Videos Online

UPDATE: I guess he wasn't so ashamed of his monkey before he went inside.

UPDATE II: More here.

UPDATE III: More here.

UPDATE IV: This is what happened to CNN's Ed Henry when he went to cover a McCain-Palin rally.
"CNN sucks!," yelled one voter at Henry. "Communists go home," shouted another"

At one point, Henry was hit with a flying pack of chewing gum.

Toward the end of McCain's speech -- which a handful of especially passionate activists ignored to hurl insults at Henry and other reporters -- a chant went up: "We want Fox, we want Fox."
UPDATE V: Not only are they throwing objects at reporters, they're also throwing racial epithets and assaulting reporters. This is getting ridiculous.

UPDATE VI: McCain isn't ashamed enough to stop. He's now making a big robo-call push - a tactic he himself condemned as recently as 2007 - in which he tells voters, "You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with [a] domestic terrorist." He also tell them that Obama and the Democrats "aren't who you think they are." According to the McCain campaign, Obama and Biden "want to give civil rights to terrorists," ally themselves with those who "killed Americans," and deny babies medical care. He's also calling Obama's payroll tax cut for those unable to pay income taxes a "welfare" policy that amounts to "socialism," and that the Obama campaign is complicit in "one of the greatest frauds in voter history ... maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

McCain knows exactly what he's doing, and he knows exactly what the consequences are. In a word, McCain is an asshole.

UPDATE VII: It continues.
Someone slashed the tires of at least 30 vehicles parked outside the Crown Coliseum on Sunday during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies are investigating. The tires were cut while people were inside the Crown Coliseum listening to speeches, said Maj. E. Wright of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office...

Sarah Revis, who lives on Wilkes Road, said the slashed tires left several women, including a single mother and a toddler, stranded and upset. At least four tow trucks were sent to move the vehicles from the Crown, Revis said.

"This is an embarrassment to this city and to me as a citizen," Revis said. "I've seen women out here crying and men cussing. This is a crying shame."

UPDATE VIII: Another example.

UPDATE IX:Yet another example.

Obama Ad: "Lose"

10 October 2008

Joe Biden: McCain is "an angry man, lurching from one position to another"

09 October 2008

This Week's Links

500,000 Gallons of Oil Spilled Due to Ike (CBS)
Ex-Rival Says Palin Lacks Substance (The Harvard Crimson)
The Fraudulent Fraud Squad (Dallas Morning News)
GOP Sound and Fury Over ACORN is a Little Bit Nutty (Michigan Messenger)
Make-Believe Maverick (Rolling Stone)
Obama, Ayers, and Chicago School Reform (Education Weekly)
The Purge Surge: Why the GOP is Nuts About ACORN (Huffington Post)
Schadenfreude Watch: Hewitt Edition (Washington Monthly)
Sean Hannity, Robert Gibbs and Anti-Semitism: How to Go on FOX News (Salon)
Vote Rigging and Suppression (Greg Palast)

These People Are Ridiculous

08 October 2008

Second Presidential Debate

Why I'm Voting For Barack Obama

07 October 2008

[I will be updating and adding to this list a lot between now and November]

I. Energy Policy:

  • Summary: This is one of the most important issues for me in the 2008 election. As I see it, we need to reach three goals: (1) change our auto fleet so that it is no longer dependent on oil as a fuel source; (2) reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our power plants; and (3) make sure that our energy policy isn't written by industry lobbyists, and that it doesn't ignore informed expert opinions. These are all tough goals to reach, and each will require a future President to be both honest and aggressive.
  • (1) Dependence on Oil: With respect to the first goal (which is long-term), Obama simply has a better plan. First of all, Obama will increase fuel efficiency standards by 4% every year. This is a very important step, and is really integral to reducing our dependence on oil. McCain, on the other hand, only promises to enforce existing fuel economy standards. In fact, he has actively opposed increasing fuel economy standards in the past (in 2003 and 2005). This is simply bad policy. Without updating our fuel economy standards, we'll continue to be the world's largest consumer of oil. McCain's hands-off approach means more fuel-inefficient cars, and more oil consumption for the foreseeable future. This approach simply hasn't worked for the past 20 years. If we keep this hands-off approach up, we'll only get hit harder by future price shocks.

    In addition to fuel economy, Obama also supports Amtrak funding and increased public transportation. McCain does not. In fact, he has actively opposed increased public transportation funding, and has attempted for years to dissolve Amtrak.

    Both candidates propose tax credits for the purchase of efficient vehicles, but Obama's proposal is better (it's $2,000 more than McCain's, and not as restrictive in where it applies). This is important, because the best end-result we could hope for is plug-in electric vehicles that cost less than traditional gas-powered vehicles. Tax credits are important because they encourage both investment and future purchases.

    McCain gets some points for his "$300 Million Prize To Improve Battery Technology For Full Commercial Development Of Plug-In Hybrid And Fully Electric Automobiles," but Obama still has better investments to promote similar technologies and make electric cars commercially available.

    In addition to falling short on these important issues, McCain has made a big lie the centerpiece of his energy plan. McCain has repeatedly told the public that drilling in the protected OCS areas would lead to consumers "pay[ing] less" at the pump. It wouldn't, and McCain is lying when he says that it would. In reality, the Department of Energy estimates that OCS drilling in the protected areas would only result in an additional 200,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production (in the year 2030, by their estimates). This, they say, would have an "insignificant" impact on the price of gas. Even the National Petroleum Council (which exists "to represent the views of the oil and natural gas industries") only argues (unrealistically) that we would see an extra 900,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production in the year 2025. When you compare that to a world market that currently consumes 86 million barrels of oil per day today (and will consume much more in 2025 and 2030), that works out - at best - to a savings of pennies per gallon. "Insignificant" is the right word. Yet McCain has consistently pretended that he has the power to reduce the price of gas by tapping these "insignificant" resources. If he wants to argue that this will reduce our trade deficit, that's one thing (though not the most compelling argument). But to lie about its effect on the price of gas is ridiculous.

    McCain and his lobbyist advisers have also repeatedly lied about the environmental risks of increased OCS drilling in the protected regions, telling us that "not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage." In reality, they did. The Department of Homeland Security estimated the total oil spills at 9 million gallons. The Mineral Management Services' pipeline damage report measured 113 destroyed platforms and 124 offshore spills, resulting in 734,000 gallons (17,700 barrels) of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. You could even see the oil slicks, 10 miles wide, from space.

    McCain also loses points for his ridiculous "gas tax holiday" proposal (which would starve public transportation of funding and increase our dependence on oil).

    Finally, McCain constantly touts nuclear power as something that will lead to a "reduction in our dependence on foreign oil." The problem here is that only 3% of our electricity here in the United States comes from oil. Our dependence upon oil comes pretty much entirely from our auto fleet (as well as from home heating). Yet McCain opposes increases in fuel efficiency standards, and his official spokesman George Allen has already said that "John McCain does not wish to mandate any particular building standards for energy efficient homes or buildings." So unless McCain is proposing nuclear powered cars (he's not), he's simply not being honest about our country's oil use.
II. The Federal Budget:
  • The nation is already $10,000,000,000,000 in debt. This is a really big, but often overlooked, problem. This section is still a work in progress, but for now you can just read through this non-partisan analysis of the candidates' positions, and these two independent fact-checks (1, 2) calling McCain out for his dishonesty/confusion on the issue. This report (pdf) is also worth a read. So is this post, and this Wall Street Journal article (contrast that with this one). Also, take note whenever McCain's top economic adviser says something like this: "I would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction."
III. Health Care

IV. Social Security
V. General Intelligence:
  • Summary: The next President will be making some very important decisions, managing one of the largest organization on the planet, and dealing with some very complex issues. Therefore, he must be a very, very smart person. He has to be able to think on his toes and quickly come to understand the problems (and potential solutions) at hand. Although it is a tough thing to quantify, general intelligence is one of the most fundamental requirements for the next President.
  • Obama: When it comes to general intelligence, Obama certainly has the credentials. Obama studied at Columbia and Harvard on scholarship, where he received degrees in international relations and law. He even became President of the Harvard Law Review, which is one of the highest academic achievements a young lawyer could hope to reach. Afterwards, Obama taught Constitutional Law (something important for a future President to know) at one of the nation's top law schools. These are things that you can't accomplish unless you are really, really smart.

    During interviews, as well, you'll notice that Obama is very thoughtful and careful to address the questions actually being asked. Even when a question has multiple parts, he'll go through them one-by-one. Rather than mindlessly repeating the campaign's talking-points, he listens, understands, and responds. This isn't the most remarkable feat in the world (everyone should be capable of understanding and addressing basic questions), but Obama's basic communication skills just make McCain's bloopers and blunders look all the worse in comparison.
  • McCain: When it comes to general intelligence, McCain looks really bad on paper. McCain graduated fifth from the bottom of his class (894/899) at the Naval Academy, and holds no other degrees.

    During debates and interviews, McCain consistently looks like a fool. Whether he is dodging questions, misunderstanding issues, forgetting his own position, or mindlessly falling back on talking points, McCain has an uncanny ability to make me cringe. Just look at these clips:

    McCain didn't make it into politics based on his big ideas or intellectual credentials. He made it there based on his compelling personal story.

VI. Temperament and Diplomacy
  • Summary: In the world of politics and diplomacy, you won't be in agreement with all of the people all of the time. Especially on the global scale, you'll find yourself in situations where compromise is necessary. You can't just be an irrational hot-head. You need to keep your bearings and keep the peace without unnecessarily making concessions to irrational positions. It's a tough balance to strike, and a tough thing to predict. Nonetheless, it is one of the most important traits for a potential President to possess, and we can get an idea of how a future President would act by looking back at their past efforts to behave as adults.
  • McCain: Although McCain has indeed taken some positions contrary to that of his party (although he's pretty much flip-flopped back on all of those by now), he has often been inflexible and undiplomatic in those contrary positions.

    For example, McCain once bucked his party on immigration reform (though he has since flip-flopped back on the issue). However, in bipartisan meetings to negotiate the bill, Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) raised some objections to the judicial appeals process for immigrants. McCain exploded at Cornyn, shouting "Fuck you! I know more about this than anyone in the room!" He added, "This is chickenshit stuff!"

    On a separate occasion, during a select committee meeting in the Senate, McCain "mocked Grassley to his face and used a profanity to describe him" (Chuck Grassley is a Republican Senator from Iowa, who was at the same meeting). After Grassley requested an apology, McCain stood up from his chair and refused to show Grassley any civility. Instead, "[t]here was some shouting and shoving," which Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) had to break up. McCain called Grassley "a fucking jerk" and they stopped talking altogether for a long time.

    The list goes on. Pretty much everyone who has worked with McCain in the Senate agrees. That's why he saw so little support from the GOP during his last run for President. Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) has said "His temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him." So when it comes to reaching across the aisle and engaging in diplomacy, I doubt that McCain would seriously do either.

    In addition to these temper tantrums, McCain has made some childish formulations of how he would conduct his diplomacy. For example, at the height of Sunni/Shia violence in Iraq, McCain said this: "One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, ‘Stop the bullshit.’ " He has also insulted
  • Obama: This subsection is a work in progress. For now, I recommend reading through this FOX News article (seriously).
VII. Federal Agency Appointments
VIII. Federal Judges
IX. The First Amendment and Civil Rights
  • Free Speech: Take note that McCain pushed to ban flag burning, and Palin repeatedly pestered her town librarian to find out how she could go about banning books (asking her on three separate occasions about it). Keep in mind that at the same time, Palin's church was pushing to remove the book "Pastor I Am Gay" from bookstores. When the librarian refused to comply, Palin said that she would be fired (for not fully supporting Palin). Palin now says (implausibly) that she was only asking a "rhetorical" question (on three separate occasions). That is absurd on its face, and any thinking adult should find it obvious that Palin is now lying.
  • Church and State: The United States Constituion only mentions religion twice. First, it says this: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States" (Article VI). Second, it says this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" (The First Amendment). Just to underscore the point, Congress unanimously signed the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, saying this: "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion." The reason for this separation, as stated by James Madison (father of the Constitution), is that "religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together." When James Madison objected to a bill granting public land to a Baptist church, this is what he told the protesters: "Having always regarded the practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government as essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, I could not have otherwise discharged my duty on the occasion which presented itself."

    John McCain, on the other hand, says things like this: "The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation." This comment is precisely backwards. Whether he is insincerely pandering to what he thinks people want to hear (as the BeliefNet interviewer himself suspected) or truly clueless, I think that we have to hold McCain accountable for his off-the-wall wrongness.

    McCain also says equally absurd things about the United States being "a nation founded on Christian principles." If he really believes this, I'd like for McCain to explain a few things. Which religious belief informed the Founding Fathers to create a Democracy? That concept is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

    Which religious belief informed the Founding Fathers to allow freedom of speech and of the press? That concept is nowhere to be found in the Bible, which actually advocates the death penalty for heresy ("anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death").

    Which religious belief informed the Founding Fathers to create a system of checks and balances? Separation of powers? Bicameralism? Those concepts are totally alien to the Bible, and are secular in origin.

    I'm really getting tired of people like John McCain trying to pretend that the Constitution was based off of the Christian Bible. It wasn't. The United States government is a completely separate institution, which performs a completely separate function. As a practical matter, the blurring of these lines could lead to a McCain administration funneling more tax dollars to exclusively religious institutions, as well as appointing federal judges who erode the line of separation
  • Don't Ask, Don't Tell: One of the big issues (that has been building for years now) is the right of homosexuals to serve in the military without lying about their sexual orientation. Under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy we currently have, homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military only if they conceal the fact that they are in fact gay. This is an extraordinarily silly (and immoral) policy.

    Unfortunately, John McCain supports this kind of discrimination in the military. Not only does he support it, but he says things like this: "Open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion, and discipline." He also calls it a threat to national security. As if the military will fall apart if homosexuals tell the truth. John McCain needs to grow up.

    But that's not all. McCain also says things like this: "I believe polarization of the personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual servicemembers above those of their units." But it hardly seems like a misguided effort to elevate your interests when all you're asking for is to not get fired for being who you are. Since the DADT was first implemented, more than 11,000 servicemembers have been discharged for just that (many of whom even had special skills needed by the military).

    Furthermore, this is hardly a question about "unit cohesion." Charles Moskos, the principle author of DADT himself, has stated: "Fuck unit cohesion. I don't care about that...I should not be forced to shower with a woman. I should not be forced to shower with a gay." It should be perfectly clear to any observant person that this is a question of whether or not the private prejudices of certain individuals within the military should be sufficient to bar an entire class of people from military service. The answer to that question is clearly "no."

    In contrast, Obama has said that he would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. However, he won't make this a litmus test for his appointees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Eh, at least that's not nearly as bad as McCain's position.
  • Defense of Marriage Act: This subsection is a work in progress. Suffice it to say that McCain voted for this horrible bit of legislation. McCain also campaigned in Arizona in favor of a ban on gay marriage, running political ads devoted exclusively to the issue. Because of people like John McCain, homosexual couples and families will be materially worse-off.
X. Honesty and Integrity
  • This section is a work in progress. For now, you can check out these examples of McCain dishonesty. There is plenty more on the way.
XI. Science and Technology
  • This section is a work in progress. You can read about Obama's plan here, and McCain's plan here. I also recommend watching this video.
XII. Ultimate Fighting
  • I happen to be a fan of Ultimate Fighting. Therefore, I don't like the fact that McCain, a lifelong boxing fan, has made it his personal crusade to shut down the sport.
  • From Slate:

    "When I tell people I'm an ultimate fighting fan, they invariably respond: "Don't people get killed all the time doing that?" But no one has ever been killed at the UFC--though boxers are killed every year. No one has even been seriously injured at the UFC. On the rare occasions when a bout has ended with a bloody knockout, the loser has always walked out of the ring.

    But this does not impress boxing fans, who are the most vigorous opponents of extreme fighting. McCain sat ringside at a boxing match where a fighter was killed. When I asked him to explain the moral distinction between boxing and ultimate fighting, he exploded at me, "If you can't see the moral distinction, then we have nothing to talk about!" Then he cut our interview short and stormed out of his office."

  • As far as I know, Obama isn't in the business of shutting down UFC.
XIII. Abstinence-Only Education:
  • Congress spends a lot of money on abstinence-only education. About $87.5 million each year. Recently, Congress commissioned a study from Mathematica to find out if it was really worth it to spend so much money on such programs. It turns out, abstinence-only education doesn't really do anything: "The impact results from the four selected programs show no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence." The American Medical Association, Office of National AIDS Policy, Institute of Medicine, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health, and American Academy of Pediatrics all agree: comprehensive sexual education would be much better. As it stands, we're basically flushing millions of dollars down the toilet, doing nothing other than subsidizing certain groups to proselytize and spread misinformation about condom failure rates. This is madness, and I'd rather not have another President who is unreasonable and fiscally irresponsible enough to extend these programs.
  • It's also worth noting that federal funding of abstinence-only education has a history of subsidizing religious proselytization. For example, over $1 million in federal funds were spent on the Silver Ring Thing, an abstinence-only group that attempted to achieve its goal by handing out silver rings lined with bible quotes. Currently, the Stop and Think program is receiving funds for abstinence-only education in Oregon. This group requires that its supervisors “possess an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ; possess knowledge of the Word of God, and the ability to communicate it’s [sic] truth; exhibit a loving and merciful spirit; [and] attend a Bible believing local church or fellowship.”
  • On this particular issue, John McCain "strongly opposes efforts by the Democratic-controlled Congress to eliminate abstinence-only sex education classes for school-aged children." This is an irrational position, and a waste of money.
  • This bizarre exchange with a reporter speaks for itself:

    Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

    Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

    Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?

    Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

    Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

    Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

    Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

    Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”