Monday, December 31, 2007

McCain's "Hypocritical Flip-Flop Express" Continues To Chug Along

I would never have imagined writing about John McCain for my last post in 2007. I thought this guy was dead in the water back in June. Now he is re-surging faster than George Bush can shred the Constitution. Of course the easy answer for this is because Republican voters hate all their choices and are leap-frogging from candidate to candidate. Remember when Fred Thompson was all the rage, or Mike Huckabee way back in mid-December?

Well anyways, I also remember McCain going into this mess back in late 2006 and he was being described as the "eventual nominee" much as Hillary was up until a month or two ago. My my how things can change in Presidential politics. So being the re-up and coming contender, it seems McCain is still up to his old tricks. Those tricks being saying one thing, even doing one thing, then turning around and doing the opposite.

From The Washington Post:

McCain began his anti-special-interest drive two decades ago after he and four other senators were accused of trying to influence bank regulators on behalf of donor Charles Keating, a savings and loan financier later convicted of securities fraud. The Senate ethics committee said McCain had used "poor judgment" but also said his actions "were not improper" and did not merit punishment.

Ever since, McCain has made high ethical standards a hallmark of his public persona. In his 2002 memoir, he wrote that "money does buy access in Washington, and access increases influence that often results in benefiting the few at the expense of the many." Just this month in Detroit, he told reporters that he had "never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special interest group -- that's a clear, 24-year record."

Nonetheless, a recent study by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute and the liberal advocacy group Public Citizen found that McCain has more lobbyists raising funds for his presidential bid than do any of his rivals. He has 32 "bundlers" of donations who are lobbyists. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) is the closest to him with 29 lobbyist bundlers, followed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) with 18.

McCain's campaign has also been guided by lobbyists. Davis, the campaign manager, is a former lobbyist who represented major telecommunications companies. The campaign's senior adviser is Charles R. Black Jr., chairman of BKSH & Associates, which represents drug companies, an oil company, an automaker, a telecommunications company, defense contractors and the steel industry, among others.

Not only is he guided by K Street, he likes to talk tough about another flip-flopper, who I would like to call King Flip-Flop, or Mitt for short. Romney is also going after his impromptu protege as he feels threatened by the Senator from Arizona.

It really is anyone's game...on both sides, but at least Democrats aren't playing tricks like these. I wonder who came up with that holiday card.

Stuff, Stuff And More Stuff

So, so true:

From The Onion

Giuliani Fades To Black In Iowa

The most important political event of the week occurs on Thursday over in Iowa. Every candidate is slugging it out in the Hawkeye State, all but one, Rudy Giuliani. He left Iowa on Saturday and isn't expected to return until after the caucus if not at all. His hopes in the state have been bleak at best, but once the Shag Fund story hit last month it has been all downhill since. Even when he was there, the presentation by the campaign was lackluster at best.

From The NY Times:

On one side of the street in the middle of town, Mike Huckabee was stumping at a restaurant. Outside was a big bus that said “Mike Huckabee” on it in huge letters, crowds of people and reporters milling around, and another campaign bus from C-Span. It looked like a Hollywood set of a presidential campaign, with all the trappings.

Across the street, Mr. Giuliani had a campaign stop in a bakery and restaurant. The place was pretty crowded, and the event attracted a lot of reporters and photographers, but it all seemed pretty low-key compared with the hoopla across the street – more like a campaign stop in a mayoral campaign than a presidential campaign.

Mr. Giuliani’s final town hall meeting, in Mt. Pleasant, had a better crowd. Aides pointed out to reporters that extra chairs had to be unfolded at the last minute to accommodate the audience. In the end, there were probably around 150 people there – a good-sized crowd for a Giuliani event, but a fraction of what other candidates draw.

Maybe he just doesn't get it, or perhaps he doesn't care. Doing damage control in what was friendly territory down in Florida is taking up more of his time nowadays. Damage control has been his priority ever since Judy Giuliani made all of the national papers. He can't break double digits in either Iowa or New Hampshire and is hedging his bets on the other early states, but that might not be enough for Mr. Tough Guy from the city.

A Green Ball To Drop In NYC

Tonight officially ends the year that was 2007. On this 365th day of the year people will begin to celebrate the coming of 2008 and all that it can entail. We'll elect a new President (thank god), a larger majority in the House and Senate and do many great things, both political and non-political. As we bring in the new year, New York will change up the most famous New Year's event on the planet, that being the ball drop. For one hundred years now, the East Coast marks the change by "dropping" a ball in Times Square, but this year it is getting a beautiful and energy-efficient makeover.

From the BBC:

The LEDs on the $1.1m (£550,000) New Year's Eve Ball that will descend on Monday will be able to create a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns on each of its 672 crystal triangular panels.

As well as being smaller and more energy efficient, the 9,576 lights will substantially increase the brightness to more than 625,000 lumens.

"I'm proud to be able to save energy and show off this technology to the world with such a special event," said Kaj den Daas, chairman of Philips Lighting, which made the LEDs.

I'm not exactly sure what a lumen is, except for being a way to measure the brightness of lights but it sure does sound exciting. I won't be there to see it first-hand, but cheers to the Times Sq revelers that have decided to mark the New Year by being outside in the cold. I'll be safe and warm down at a party in SoHo, but I am glad that the festivities will be going green for 2008.

Fred Who?

Things must be bad if Fox News is spending four to five minutes discussing Fred Thompson's Presidential aspirations....or should I say non-aspirations:

Chelsea Clinton Snubs 9 Yr Old Reporter

I remember being nine years old. It was a happy time in my young life, new sister, good friends, not a care in the world. Now for Sydney Rieckhoff, things are a bit different. She is a "kid reporter" for Scholastic News. Even though she's little, she is following the craziness of the campaigns and tries to ask the candidates questions. She's been good so far, especially since she's a cute kid and her questions tend not to be too tough. Yet for Chelsea Clinton, everything is off limits, even for Sydney.

From RawStory:

Sydney Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and "kid reporter" for Scholastic News, has posed questions to seven Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls as they've campaigned across Iowa this year. But when she approached the 27-year-old Chelsea after a campaign event Sunday, she got a different response.

"Do you think your dad would be a good 'first man' in the White House?" Sydney asked, but Chelsea brushed her question aside.

"I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute," Chelsea told the pint-sized journalist.

Damn, even at 27, she has already learned how to be cold, yet placating at the same time. I understand that Bill and Hillary wanted to shield her from the press when she was 'first kid,' but now that she is closing in on 30 (yeah, I used those words) it is time for her to face the music (at least from a 4th grader) when out working the rope line for her Mom.

Bloomberg Steps Up For The Poor

There is a lot I disagree on with our Mayor, but he isn't all bad. His green initiatives have merit and now a new look at how the poverty line is drawn could have a major impact on the city and possibly the country. The current system developed decades ago does not take into effect things like housing, medical and child care. These are things that greatly impact a family's budget and needs to be figured into the calculation.

From The NY Times:

The 42-year-old federal poverty standard, which is pegged to the annual cost of buying basic groceries, is widely viewed as outdated and off-target. The city’s formula would take into account the money families must spend annually on necessities including rent, utilities and child care. But it would also factor in the value of financial assistance received, like housing vouchers or food stamps.

The city’s efforts are already attracting attention. “There is widespread dissatisfaction with the current standard,” said Jack Tweedie, the director of the children and families program at the National Conference of State Legislators, which provides research to state legislators and policy makers.

“Because it is New York City adopting it, it could be a big step forward,” he said. “As it starts generating reports and data, others will be interested and you will get more momentum.”

Poverty is a huge problem that affects our country and one that isn't talked about much these days. Definitely not by the current Administration and even most Presidential candidates refrain from talking about those with the least amongst us.

It is often said that our city is the true capital of the country (and historically was for a few years), so why not lead by example here so others join in to at least begin to look at the problem with clear eyes?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Edwards Is Bringing The Message To Iowa

With four days to go, Iowa is all the rage, and many in the state are getting behind John Edwards. While the race is tight, all that matters is what corner of the room most Iowans end up in at the end of the night.

This War Is For You Satan

If there weren't enough wars going on for you (on drugs, on terror, on the constitution, etc etc) then I have good news, there is a new one and this isn't one to take lightly. The Pope wants to take on the devil, to conduct a full scale operation versus Satan and demonic possession. Satan is counter to all that is holy and he must be stopped. To convey a personal message from Pope Benedict XVI to George Bush, "my war is bigger than your war!"

From The Daily Mail:

The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.

Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.

They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness."

Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.

Clearly, George is going to have to come up with a new and bigger war to counteract the Pope's war. Obviously Satan is worse than terror, because Satan causes terror (right Mr. Robertson?) and Osama is merely a servant of Satan (not his own fanatical view of Islam). What war will the President think of with less than 387 days left in's going to have to be a good one.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mr. President, You May Be Under Arrest...In Vermont

Out of all the states I've been to, not many have made the impression that Vermont has on my mind. From the scenic beauty to the friendly people, the incredible cheese and the amazing ice cream factory that is Ben and Jerry's, this small state packs a large punch. Well now it might get even better, as the town of Brattleboro considers issuing arrest warrants for George Bush and Dick Cheney.

From RawStory:

A group in Brattleboro is petitioning to put an item on a town meeting agenda in March that would make Bush and Vice President Cheney subject to arrest and indictment if they visit the southeastern Vermont community.

"This petition is as radical as the Declaration of Independence, and it draws on that tradition in claiming a universal jurisdiction when governments fail to do what they're supposed to do," said Kurt Daims, 54, a retired machinist leading the drive.

As president, Bush has visited every state except Vermont.

Now he'll probably never visit.

What this group wants to do is something that the Congress should have taken care of long ago. Bush and Cheney have committed so many crimes, you'd only have to prosecute them on a few to get a life sentence for both of them. The reasons to impeach and convict them are numerous yet they remain free, allowed to commit the wholesale destruction of our country.

So if Congress won't take care of business, then the towns and cities have a right, no, a duty to see that justice is served!

Attack Of The Mindless Clowns!

For Every Positive Kristol Story, There Will Be An Equal Negative Reaction

Sometimes the laws of physics can be a real pain in the ass. Though for some reason I thought they might not apply to people like Bill Kristol. Maybe it was because he supports people that do not believe in science, but as we know, science trumps all. So when Time Magazine made the smart decision to release William "The Bloody" from his contract and his ability to reach out to their readers, it made a progressive like me smile. Unfortunately, the supposed "heart" of the liberal media, the New York Times is determined to let his idiocy rein free on their own print and online space.

From The Huffington Post:

The Huffington Post has learned that, in a move bound to create controversy, the New York Times is set to announce that Bill Kristol will become a weekly columnist in 2008. Kristol, a prominent neo-conservative who recently departed Time magazine in what was reported as a "mutual" decision, has close ties to the White House and is a well-known proponent of the war in Iraq. Kristol also is a regular contributor to Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume.

Maybe they just want to sell more newspapers with what seems like the "Glenn Beck" model. Well, it is their loss (not to mention the readership) and Kristol's gain, allowing him to spew his ridiculous banter on the pages of the national "paper of record." Maybe the Times is tired of that role, so then putting Kristol in as a columnist will set them up to lose the title.

Bush Hates Kids...Now With Disabilities

We already know he doesn't like children to have health care when their parents can't afford it. Despite a lot of pomp and a little fighting from the Democrats in Congress, they eventually bent over for the American people to take Bush's evildoing up the you know where. Now Bush has decided to save a little bit of money for the government (to pay for war evidently) and strip schools of their reimbursements to transport children with disabilities.

From The Washington Post:

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration issued a new rule Friday that eliminates Medicaid reimbursement for certain transportation and administrative tasks undertaken by schools on behalf of students with disabilities.

A wide range of medical services are furnished to students in schools. Speech and physical therapy are typical examples. Medicaid, the government's health insurance program for the poor, helps pay for those activities for low-income children. It will continue to pay. However, the new rule will restrict when schools can bill the federal government for clerical duties associated with providing health care.

For example, schools can no longer expect Medicaid reimbursement for the planning of student immunizations. Schools also won't get paid for transporting students getting speech or physical therapy to school or back home.

So the savings come to a grand total of $3.6 billion, while the war in Iraq costs that much in about a week or so. Whenever you hear about priorities of the Republicans in office and especially of the President, just remember what matters most to them.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kucinich Supporters Need To Lighten Up

Seriously guys, we all know your candidate has no shot at winning so come on, lighten up on this ad:

Aren't there bigger battles to fight than boycotting Pizza Hut? I already boycott them for their taste, leave the politics out of the pizza...or vice-versa or something like that.

The Only Place Ron Paul Will Is In A Fantasy Land

Ron Paul has proved he can earn gobs of money, the scorn from both the political left and right and millions upon millions of hits on the World Wide Web, but all the pundits want to know...can he make a statement in the World of Warcraft? Ok, most politicos have probably never heard of this, it is an interactive video game where people can fight each other online with mythical creatures and what not.

Since Ron Paul is having trouble breaking into any polls and has a slim chance at winning any sizeable blocs of votes come caucus and primary days, he's going to have to settle for a fantasy land....or at least a virtual march through this video game.

From RawStory:

On New Years Day, Paul-backing devotees of the online multiplayer game are planning a march through WoW's sprawling virtual universe to show support their candidate. Participants will be represented by one of an array of mythical avatars that populate the fantasy-themed game, in which players take on adventures and duel against rival characters.

WoW Insider, who first reported the story, says political activism should have a home in the game.

"Now, we here at WoW Insider are politically neutral when it comes to Warcraft, so we won't advocate joining these guys (and we also won't advocate forming a 'Horde for Hillary'guild to oppose them)," writes the blog's Mike Schramm. "But we are 100% in support of bringing widescale opinion expression of any kind into the game itself, so this should definitely be a fun event."

Personally, I'll be sleeping in for a good part of the day, but if video game players want to watch a few dozen or even a few hundred (if they're lucky) Ron Paul supporters use their computers or USB-connected video game controllers to 'march' on the World of Warcraft, then so be it. If I was Mr. Paul I'd take anything I could get....and apparently he does.

Tell Me Again Why Religion Trumps Spirituality

Back when I had a car, the most prominently displayed bumper sticker read "Religious people frighten me, spiritual people enlighten me." Although I have neither car or bumper sticker anymore, I still believe in what it said, especially when I see ridiculous outbursts of violence like that at the Church of the Nativity yesterday in Bethelem.

From The AFP:

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AFP) — Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.

But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.

For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.

How frickin sad.

Scary Giuliani Supporters

I certainly do not want my Muslim friends going back to any caves. If there is anyone that should be buried in some deep underground chamber, it would be this guy along with his friend Rudy:

Miami Herald To Outsource Part Of Their News Dept.

Lou Dobbs must be frothing at the mouth right about now, once he hears that the Miami Herald is outsourcing comment moderation to online stories and their ad and design work for the news department to New Delhi. The new policy is in its testing phase and Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal said that they don't know how employment will be affected in the South Florida area.

From Business Week:

The Miami Herald is outsourcing some of its advertising production work to India, the newspaper's editor said Thursday.

Starting in January, copyediting and design in a weekly section of Broward County community news and other special advertising sections will be outsourced to Mindworks, based in New Delhi.

Um, if you outsource jobs to India for a local paper, chances are someone in the area is going to lose their position. I know the Miami Herald isn't the first, or second newspaper to do this, but come on, do we really need to send the work of a paper that covers a local area to a country several thousand miles away?

Rudy Rep'd For Oxycontin Makers

Rudy tries to keep his client list a secret, but as more investigations are done into his past, the more companies and countries of ill repute come out as having contracts with Rudy's security firm Giuliani Partners. The latest uncovering is that of his ties to Purdue Pharma, best known for its product Oxycontin which is basically a legal narcotic. It is used widely on the street as another drug to be abused, popularized by right wing bigot and radio host extraordinaire Rush Limbaugh. Purdue had some trouble with the Drug Enforcement Agency (leading to several guilty verdicts) and enlisted Rudy for name support.

From The New York Times:

A former top federal prosecutor, Mr. Giuliani participated in two meetings between Purdue officials and the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency investigating the company. Giuliani Partners took on the job of monitoring security improvements at company facilities making OxyContin, an issue of concern to the D.E.A.

As a celebrity, Mr. Giuliani helped the company win several public relations battles, playing a role in an effort by Purdue to persuade an influential Pennsylvania congressman, Curt Weldon, not to blame it for OxyContin abuse.

Despite these efforts, Purdue suffered a crushing defeat in May at the hands of Mr. Brownlee when the company and three top executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Basically Purdue wanted Rudy to lobby for them (which is illegal in a case like this) to avoid prosecution and Congressional scrutiny. Thankfully, the DEA was better at prosecuting than Giuliani was at defending the drug dealers makers. Rudy declined to comment for the story, as he has for the rest of the inquiries into Giuliani Partners. He says he no longer does the day to day stuff with the company, but he was involved at the pertinent time and obviously the firm still sports his influential name.

Just another nail in the bastard's coffin.

Dodd Talks About His Friend Benazir With K.O.

Not only his friend, but a true leader of Pakistan is now dead and a country is in chaos. Dodd argues that the Pakistan election should be delayed in the wake of the news while aid to the country should not be limited.

(Forced) Ignorance Is Bliss

Does it befuddle a few of us progressives out there that some people are beginning to see Iraq in a new light, that perhaps things are getting better after all? Of course we know that things aren't hunky dorry, it is just that the traditional media isn't covering the news on the ground and likewise attributing some declines in violence to President Bush's surge when there is no way it could be the case. The unfortunate, yet obvious answer to me is that...well, people have short attention spans and if they don't see it on their nightly news for a few days or weeks then they'll assume the problem is over.

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - A recent decline in U.S. news coverage from Iraq coincides with improved public opinion about the war just as the 2008 presidential campaign heads to an early showdown, a study released on Wednesday said.

The study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism said the volume of coverage from Iraq fell from 8 percent of all news stories in the first six months of 2007 to 5 percent between June and October due mainly to a decline in news accounts of daily attacks.

The falloff coincided with a 14 percentage point climb -- from 34 to 48 percent -- in the number of Americans who believe the U.S. military effort in Iraq is going either fairly or very well, according to Pew.

While the amount of stories declines, the portrait of Iraq is merely being clouded, not turning as some conservatives would like to suggest. This diary from DailyKos is quite an interesting piece about the media and government spin, something to keep in mind as you tune in to CNN or ABC. Just because the media does or doesn't say something doesn't mean something else isn't happening. Never believe what you hear or read on face value, always look for many sources to corroborate a narrative to see if its true or not.

Fox News Takes A Page Out Of The Onion

If there are two "news sources" that I love and hate, they would be The Onion and Fox News. Both report a whole lot of bullshit and misinform gullible readers/viewers. The only difference is that Fox is trying to look professional while The Onion is just trying to make smart and snarky people laugh.

Take this example of "professionalism" and try it on for size. The Center for Media and Public Affairs recently released a study showing how the media has been denouncing Hillary, loving Obama....and that Fox News has the most balanced election coverage. Wait a sec, did I just have to write that? Did the sun reverse course last night?

Oh whew, no it is all good people. It turns out that this highly regarded George Mason institution is headed by none other than Dr. S. Lichter, who just happens to be a regular contributor guessed it, Fox News.

Nice try Mr. Ailes, come again to the real no spin zone soon.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why Cenk Uyugr Will Not Support Hillary

He's eliminated her from his list and he ain't checking it twice, see why:

Huckabee The Hunter: Vote For Me Or Die!

Huckabee touts himself as a man of the cloth (an actual honest to goodness Baptist minister) who shuns science and is out to get the votes of the Republican party faithful. Not only does this candidate not know what the hell is going on around the world, he has taken Puff Daddy's "Vote or Die" initiative to a whole new level.

From Crooks and Liars:

Republican Mike Huckabee took his turn Wednesday, going on a pheasant hunt in Osceola, Iowa during which the Arkansas governor made it clear he is no stranger to the great outdoors.

Huckabee’s team brought back three pheasants — one of which the candidate claimed he personally shot — and promised they’d be “cleaned and eaten.”

Huckabee, who polls show continues to hold onto his lead in Iowa eight days before the state’s caucuses — also joked the trip could serve as a metaphorical campaign message. “Don’t get in my way,” he said while pointing to the three dead birds.

“This is what happens…You vote for me, you live. You don’t…there you go.”

If you see a case of buckshot and Mike Huckabee in the same room, you better run your ass off, whether if it is at a campaign rally or in a church.

Top Ten Myths About Iraq In The Last Year

Be sure to guard your eyes and ears carefully at the end of this year my friends. The traditional media and their conservative/corporate overlords will try to tell you certain things that fit their changing narrative about the war. The thing is, a narrative means that the media is trying to tell you a story, instead of the facts on the ground. Juan Cole examined the top ten myths about the media's coverage in Iraq and of course the White House's spin as well (in case the two aren't identical). Here are the top three from the list.

From Informed Comment:

3. Myth: The Iraqi north is relatively quiet and a site of economic growth. Fact: The subterranean battle among Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs for control of the oil-rich Kirkuk province makes the Iraqi north a political mine field. Kurdistan now also hosts the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas that sneak over the border and kill Turkish troops. The north is so unstable that the Iraqi north is now undergoing regular bombing raids from Turkey.

2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart. Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager for it to end.

1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."

Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops.

Just remember, media/Bush Administration narrative versus facts. You can make up your own story after reviewing the latter.

The WWJD Doll

So two thousand and some years ago, little baby Jesus was a few days old and resting with his parents. So this time of year the Christian world rejoices in his birth, but how many remember who Jesus was and what he stood for? That is why the Unemployed Philsopher's Guild is here to help you and your conservative friends remember with this cute little doll. So for all of you warmongers out there, take a look at this doll and his bracelet before calling for all out war with whatever country you fear/despise/loathe the most.

Sagging Giuliani Returns To His Greatest Weakness

As Giuliani sinks in the polls and his dream to be supreme dictator President gets more distant from reality by the day, the former Mayor is pulling out all the stops to remind voters to be afraid of terror so that somehow they will think of him as a national savior. Of course we know he is the farthest thing from it, but that won't stop his latest ads that include a "noun, a verb and 9/11."

From RawStory:

As Giuliani steadies himself for expected defeats in next month's early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he's hardly campaigned, he is launching the new ad to remind voters of his most prominent legacy. In the ad, he compares the police and firefighters at Ground Zero to the "Greatest Generation" of World War II veterans, plenty of whom are now retired and living in Florida -- another key early-state primary Giuliani is resting much of his hopes on winning.

"During the day of September 11, living through the things that I saw and observed. Immediately, when I saw people helping each other. I saw the picture of the firefighters putting the flag up at ground zero," the Giuliani says in the TV commercial. "I said these are the children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the greatest generation. They have the same resolve. The same understanding."

The ad starts Friday and is scheduled to run on nationally on cable's Fox News Channel. It also will air in New Hampshire, and, for the first time, Giuliani will expand his advertising to Florida. He has made that state a priority but his monthslong double-digit lead in that state's polls has narrowed as rival Mike Huckabee gained ground.

As RawStory notes, William "The Bloody" Kristol slammed the ad on Fox News as much of the Democratic establishment has done for quite some time now. Kristol is one to talk, but I have no problem with anyone beating Rudy over the head with his ridiculous campaign theme of "9/11, 9/11, 9/11."

Oh and of course some of those firefighters have a thing or two to tell Rudy about what really went down before, during and after the towers fell on that September day.

Con Ed Finally Owns Up For Steam Pipe Blast

The hot weather of July feels like a mirage to our winter weather of late December, but for one steamy day on Lex and 41st, the steam pipe explosion that occurred is still etched into the minds of thousands. At first Con Edison took no responsibility and tried to hamper an investigation into the cause of the blast, but public outcry let it continue. Now that five months has passed, a new report sheds light on their role in a blast that killed one woman and injured dozens, one of them so severely he was put into a coma so that he would not feel the pain of the burns.

From The Daily News:

Con Edison crews pumped the epoxy into a nearby leak four months before the July 18 blast, but no one noticed some of it seeped into the "steam trap" valve - leading to catastrophe when the 20-inch steampipe filled with water.

"It's a combination of clogged traps and elevated water levels underneath the ground," Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin said last night. "We think the clog was from an epoxy resin that was used to seal a flange."

The clump of resin led to a catastrophic condition called "water hammer." That blew the 87-year-old pipe wide open at E. 41st St. and Lexington Ave.

This development should open the floodgates to lawsuits against the utility giant from all of those that were affected by the blast, whether it was bodily injury or loss of income by the area's businesses. They definitely deserve it and while spokesman Michael Clendenin says that over a thousand traps were investigated and that they found no other problem, why should we believe him or his employer? The lawyer of the two badly-injured victims doesn't trust them, and neither should the rest of us.

Sounds like it is time to demand an independent investigation.

Glenn Beck Is A Tool...Now In A Good Way

Glenn wanted to talk trash about who owns certain media companies around the country, but when his guest Norman Solomon unleashed some truth about Glenn's CNN owners, he got a little bit testy, as you can see in the video below. Mr. Beck has always been a tool in my eye, but now he got a little taste of having the mirror be shown back on him...and all at his expense.

Good job Mr. Solomon!

Future Idaho Cops Belittle Our Veterans

Supposedly the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy produces the state's finest in law enforcement for the next generation. They graduated 43 cops this year and their class president got the slogan "Don't suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it," to be their motto. That is just so wrong on so many levels.

From Yahoo News:

Each class at the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy is allowed to choose a slogan that is printed on its graduation programs, and the class of 43 graduates came up with "Don't suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it."

According to the Veterans Association, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers suffer from PTSD, which causes nightmares, flashbacks and physical symptoms that make sufferers feel as if they are reliving trauma, even many years later. Crime, accidents and other trauma can cause it in civilians.

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, who attended the Dec. 14 graduation, pointed out the slogan to the academy's director, Jeff Black, minutes before the ceremony began, Raney said. A photograph of the program was e-mailed anonymously to news outlets throughout the state.

While the director dismissed the comment and said he does not condone it, he refused to release the name of the graduate that brought it up. So much for holding those that enforce the law to be accountable for their actions. So much for caring about the tens of thousands of soldiers being damaged by PTSD from their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan on an ongoing basis or the hundreds of thousands of veterans that have come before them.

So much for Idaho's police force 'protecting and serving,' it sounds more like they are ready to inflict terror on citizens instead of being trusted servants of the law. So much for respect. So much for dignity. So much for honor.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What Did Rudy Get For Christmas

Now that all the presents are opened, it is time for all the kids to compare what they got from Mom, Dad and Uncle Joe. For me, comparison time was three weeks ago during Chanukah....and add ten to twenty years on to that when I had that mentality. Of course, Rudy can act like an angry (yet scarily powerful) five year old child.

This photo from Indecision 2008 is almost too good to be true. They are asking people to fill in the blank for the caption to this photo.

I'm thinking Rudy got some sort of mind-scrambler, or perhaps a device to rig votes in New Hampshire and Florida. He knows he needs a miracle to win and gain momentum for the primary calendar, so he will have to pull a huge rabbit out of the hat to convince (or force) the masses to vote for him.

Pirates And Emperors, Cut From The Same Cloth

Merry Christmas From Your Favorite Bloodthirsty Mercenaries

I know Christmas is technically over, people are stuffed full of ham and other Christmas noshes. Others are busy shopping their brains out looking for discounts and driving up their credit card debt. It is a busy time of year indeed, but also one for reflection and cheery pats on the back. Yule time as they say, right? Well the good folks at Blackwater USA want to join in on the good cheer and show how much they care. So try not to let your nausea get the best of you with this.

From TPM Muckraker:

Some excerpts:

GIVING... is something with which all Peace Keepers are very familiar... Giving time in ways that most do not understand... Giving up pleasures and presence of family to patrol streets, conflicts and battlefields... Giving up comforts that most take for granted... Giving companionship to a fellow Peace Keeper because you are together in the same endeavor at home and on foreign fields... Giving support to those in need of assistance... Giving life and limb, risking injury or death, so that the people they love and care for may continue to live in peace and safety in their world.

Of course, T.X. Hammes and other actual defense experts don't believe Blackwater and the U.S. military "are together in the same endeavor." Rather, Blackwater's wilding out makes things worse for the U.S. military in Iraq. But in Moyock, NC, nothing says Christmas like cynical exploitation of the troops!

These are the Peace Keepers... These are my Parish...

We are in a season of good wishes and good cheer for most of us. Peace Keepers have to be just as vigilant this season as in any other season. Evil and tragedy do not take the day or the season off... but indeed they are ever present... and must be resisted at all times.


Peace Keepers you have loved me without even knowing that I existed... You have loved to the highest degree of which the human being is capable... You have laid your life and being on the line of defense between good and evil and you do all that you can to stop evil where you are... and rush to the scene when you are not already there...

There is more in there, but frankly that is all I can bear, especially with my still-full stomach. Peace keepers eh? More like peace disrupters, deliverers of evil and as for laying down lives....well so what if they are innocent Iraqis, for Blackwater, it is all about the spoils of war.

The only thing those bastards give is heartache, loss of loved ones and misery across Iraq. They take far more.

Congresswoman Gillibrand Attacked For Being Pregnant

See, it is when I hear stories like these that proves upstate NY can be a scary place. The city is a much more comforting and secure environment. Apparently some of Congresswoman Gillibrand's constituents (or at least one) does not approve of her first term because of her being a woman and the fact that she can conceive a child. So much for debating policy positions and her ability to represent her district.

From Group News Blog:

First term Congresswoman Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY20), in a highly-vulnerable district in New York's Hudson Valley, is being attacked, not for her politics, not for her stand against the Iraq war, not for the earmarks she's bringing home including money for rural broadband development.


She's being attacked because she and her husband have conceived a child.
The Glenn Falls Post Star (Letters to the Editor)

There are many occupations suitable for women and their physical attributes. Carrying a weapon while serving in the Armed Forces and firefighting are not suitable lines of work for women to prove that they are physically equal to men. How many male police officers feel comfortable with a 100 pound female backup?

And now, I have to add serving in the U.S. House and Senate as an occupation that may not be suitable for women.

Ms. Gillibrand's current pregnancy makes a strong case for my opinion. Ms. Gillibrand was elected to serve her constituency, and while she is away from her elected office she cannot perform those duties. The taxpayers who were duped into voting for her will have to pay for her medical benefits. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, Ms. Gillibrand receives excellent health benefits, courtesy of her constituents. We will be without representation in Congress for a time leading up to and following the child's birth. There will be times when she and the new baby will visit doctors. You can add those days to the total that she will not be serving her constituents.

The current base salary (2006) for members of the House and Senate is $165,200 per year. I wonder if Ms. Gillibrand will do the right thing and reimburse the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $452.60, her daily salary, for each day that she is unable to perform her elected duties. For some reason, I doubt it.


This just goes to show that the reason why Republicans are failing so miserably now is that not only are they out of touch with most of America, they aren't even living in the Information Age, this is more of a Stone Age mentality than anything else. Perhaps Mr. Blachut would prefer that Kristen be in the kitchen cooking him dinner. Too bad for him she is representing New York's 20th District with a progressive agenda that the majority of people are getting behind.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Fighting The War On Greed

If you've seen the video, you know Henry Kravis is a prime example of what is wrong with greed in America. Here's Brave New Films' winner of what to do if you had Kravis' house for a day:

Rudy The Red-Nosed Republican

An original parody, from me to Rudy Giuliani.

You know the tune:

Rudy, the red-nosed Republican
had a very checkered past.
And if you ever saw him,
you'd see him stickin' Judy in the...

All of the other candidates
used to laugh and call him names
So poor little ol' Rudy
would just lie and exaggerate his no good name

Then one foggy Caucus Eve
Reagan came to say:
"Rudy with that 9/11 slight,
won't you guide the Grand Old Party tonight?"

Then all the candidates loathed him
as they shouted out with scorn,
Rudy the red-nosed Republican,
the firefighters wish you were never born!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bush Looks To Do As Much Int'l Damage As Possible In '08

Watch out citizens of the world, George Bush may be coming to a country near you in the upcoming year. Two thousand and eight may be his last full year of being President (thank god) but it is shaping up to be his busiest when it comes to international travel. Bush has more than a dozen countries on his itinerary already and could add to it. The White House claims to be on a mission to expand alliances with other countries, but we all know he really doesn't give a flying rat's ass about other countries (or people besides himself for that matter).

The truth is that people hate him outside our country than within. Even though he is liked by less than a third of all Americans, people despise him far more anywhere from Europe to the Far East and to the south of us in Latin America. No one likes our scoundrel of a President. And why would any sane individual?

His foreign policy has decimated any type of goodwill exhibited to us after 9/11. Bringing war, occupation and conquest to the Middle East is no way to win over friends in the region or anyone that likes peace and harmony among nations. People expect tyranny from some countries around the globe, but certainly not the United States. World citizens have looked to us in the past as a beacon of hope, freedom and liberty.

Now all they see is a growing despot.

If anything comes from these trips, it'll be ridiculous nicknames for various heads of state that have the misfortune to meet our god-awful President.

And The Award For Sleaziest Conservative Of 2007 Goes To....

From TPM:

Okay, the big moment has arrived. Or at least the biggest moment till December 31st. As you know, TPM is running the First Annual Golden Duke awards, named in honor or iconic political crook Randy "Duke" Cunningham and awarded to the biggest political crooks, scoundrels and bamboozlers in six separate categories. TPM Readers sent in dozens of great nominations measuring the comparative muckliness and bamboozlism of TPM favorites like Larry Craig, Alberto Gonzales, Bradley Schlozman and many, many others. And now we've chosen the official nominees.

Its "Pay To Play" For Giuliani, Corporate Welfare Is His Game

Rudy may like to talk tough to his fans but behind the scenes he coddles his favorite companies with generous tax breaks. Poor people should always pay their dues, but if you want to fork over a large donation to Rudy's campaign then you can get whatever you want. This is business as usual for Giuliani, nothing that isn't to be expected.

From The Daily News:

The News examined seven mega-corporations that won Giuliani tax breaks and are among his top donors.

The seven companies are: the Mercantile Exchange, Credit Suisse/First Boston, Merrill Lynch, Ernst & Young, Fidelity Investments, Citigroup/Travelers/Smith Barney and Bear Stearns.

In 1994, the Mercantile Exchange got a plateful of city and state tax breaks worth $183.9 million in a deal brokered by Giuliani and then-Gov. Mario Cuomo. The deal required the exchange to keep 8,100 jobs in the city, but new jobs were not required to collect the benefit.

Today, Richard Schaeffer, chairman of the exchange, is a major Giuliani fund-raiser who says he has raised "hundreds of thousands of dollars" for Giuliani as an individual and not for any potential benefit to the exchange.

Oh as an individual he might not benefit...directly that is. It doesn't take a mensa genius or a rocket scientist to figure out that people like Schaeffer make his money from the corporations that got fed from the city teat care of Mayor Giuliani. Rudy got to look good back then for a small price as Mayor and now to be partially bankrolled by some of New York's largest corporate goons.

Expect more of the same from Rudy, whether in his business or if, god forbid, he made it to the White House.

More Tricks And Slips From Hillary

Oh Hillary we know you aren't perfect (though you try to act like it on the campaign) and a few mistakes are ok from time to time but please, please do not take credit for things that aren't yours. With ten days to go until the Iowa caucus, every candidate wants to look their best in front of their potential caucus-goers and voters. Yet to inflate ourselves beyond what reality dictates is Republican-esque and not fit for any Democratic candidate.

From The Syracuse Post Standard:

In a statement announcing "Congressional passage of millions in funding for Central New York," the senator listed money for a sewage project in the "village of Oswego" and $1.5 million for "Steel Creek" in an unidentified location.

Neither project is in Central New York. The village of Oswego does not exist. There's a city of Oswego and a town of Oswego in Oswego County. It turns out the money was destined for the village of Owego, in Tioga County, in the state's Southern Tier. There's also a Steele Creek in the Mohawk Valley.

Although the statement sent out by Clinton's office was officially a joint release with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Schumer's office noted Clinton prepared and sent out the list.

Now this is a small mistake and one that some can harp on and accuse her of being a carpet-bagger, but that is quite a stretch unless your name is Michelle Malkin. Now taking credit for things that are not your own is a different matter:

Rep. James Walsh, R-Onondaga, was unhappy to see Clinton claiming credit for delivering $23.8 million to the Syracuse VA Medical Center for a new spinal cord injury center, and more than $5 million to Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, and several other projects in Onondaga County.

Walsh's chief of staff, Dan Gage, said he called Clinton's office to complain, noting the congressman was the one who advocated for the projects from the beginning and worked hard to obtain the money.

Even after Gage's call, Clinton and Schumer continued to take credit for the earmark funding, sending out new statements on Wednesday and Thursday.

Now that type of stuff should be below that of a Presidential candidate, but Hillary certainly does like to stand out.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ron Paul Presses The Meat

I was about to pay for coffee this morning when I found this written on one of my dollar bills, it certainly qualified for my first laugh of the day but it is Ron's positions, and his hypocrisy that makes me chuckle most. Tim Russert fails to counter him on relevant points, but that isn't anything special for Timmy boy.

Well Paulites, come hither and attack me for those earmarks of Paul's, or simply sidestep the subject as most of you do.

Whatever Happened To All That Cash We Gave To Pakistan?

Remember how we were going to support Pakistan's efforts to help us fight that "War on Terror" by giving them a billion dollars a year in taxpayer money? Well it turns out that the money might not have been going to the projects we thought they would. Officials in Islamabad have a strong suspicion that we might have been financing a sizable chunk of Musharraf's tiff with India. While Pakistan claims that the U.S. isn't doing enough to help them specifically with counter- insurgency gear, the NY Times makes clear that both sides know the job Bush promised would be taken care of is......well, not being taken care of.

From The New York Times:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over how the money was spent. The strategy to improve the Pakistani military, they said, needs to be completely revamped.

In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs.

“I personally believe there is exaggeration and inflation,” said a senior American military official who has reviewed the program, referring to Pakistani requests for reimbursement. “Then, I point back to the United States and say we didn’t have to give them money this way.”

Of course all of this is being mentioned by anonymous sources, too afraid to come out publicly and confront their bosses at the State Department and the rest of the Bush Administration. Pervez, a known dictator and general thug is being accused by his opponents of using the funds to prop up his own corrupt government.

Wherever this money is going, we can be sure that Al-Qaeda is alive and well up in their northern mountains that buttress Afghanistan. Billions of dollars wasted, just like the hundreds of billions wasted overall in Iraq and across the world where Bush waves his sword at the global community. It is another shameful testament to his horrific Administration.

Cheney Hack Will Publish Bush Hack's Book

When Karl Rove set out to find a publisher for his yet-to-be-written memoirs working for George Bush, he thought a major house would pay him millions for his work of (bullshit) art. Well after more than a month, he had to take the easy way out, having VP Dick Cheney's chief hack Mary Matalin publish it instead.

The NY Observer could not find out what the deal was worth, but somehow the AP beat them to it, discovering a $1.5 million payout for whatever garbage he writes down for the few GOP faithful that so desire to read what the evil genius nutcase has in store for the conservative pages of Threshold Editions.

From the AP:

NEW YORK (AP) — GOP strategist Karl Rove has agreed to write about his years as an adviser to President Bush in a deal worth over $1.5 million with former colleague Mary Matalin's conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster, officials said Friday.

Rove, the architect of Bush's 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns and one of the most influential political advisers of his time, signed the deal with Threshold Editions, the imprint's publisher and executive vice president Louise Burke said.

"All of us at Threshold are thrilled to publish the book from the man who had the president's ear for two terms," Burke said.

Thrilled eh? What do they possibly think Rove will write? There is no way in hell he would ever write the truth, lest he personally indict himself concerning all of his and the Administration's crimes against this country. Robert Barnett realized that reputable publishers knew this tidbit already and that is the reason why it took so long to ink a deal, a deal with a piece of the right wing echo chamber.

Make Darfur Matter in 2008!

Giuliani Still Lying About Those Radios

Rudy got his chance to blab on the Sunday talk show circuit via the good will of George Stephanopoulos and ABC. George mustered a few tough questions, even doing some follow up work when Rudy lied to him about the radios that malfunctioned on September 11th, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of firefighters.

From ThinkProgress:

Today on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos pushed former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani on why the radios for the 9/11 firefighters didn’t work. Giuliani dodged the question, claiming that it would have been “impossible” to have given them working radios:

STEPHANOPOULOS: They make two main charges. Number one, that those firefighters in the north tower, many of them lost their lives because their radios didn’t work. They also say you ended the recovery efforts too soon.

GIULIANI: Well, the radios that you’re talking about weren’t put online for three, four, five years after. So, it would have been impossible for me to have those radios ready. It took the city two or three more years…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But they had malfunctioned in 1993.

GIULIANI: But even with the new equipment, it took another two or three years for those radios to be put online. So it would have been impossible for us to have gotten them online before that, given the fact that it took so long afterwards.

Now we know George wouldn't go farther than that with the former Mayor, so we here in the blogosphere had to do a little bit more, along with the group of firefighters assembling to fight him tooth and nail if his candidacy is to advance past Iowa and New Hampshire.

Of course, the Real Rudy didn't give a crap about those radios, he pulled a George Bush and issued a no-bid contract instead.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

On Why Health Care As We Know It Must Be Thrown Away

The story of Nataline Sarkisyan is already well known and extremely sad. To be killed by a health care company at the age of 17 is truly horrific. In a nutshell, the number crunchers at Cigna realized that a liver transplant for a young girl would be bad for their bottomline over time, to the tune of $1.3 million dollars or more. So they denied her claiming that a transplant was an experimental treatment, which is complete bullshit. Then when they finally caved to public pressure, it was too late and young Nataline died. Tragically, this is only one of thousands of stories where people die needlessly because their health care provider refuses to treat them.

This is where Presidential politics counts in our national debate. We are going to need a President who will stand up to these companies and not only fight them, but ultimately crush them:

“Are you telling me that we’re gonna sit at a table and negotiate with those people?” asked a visibly angered Edwards, challenging the health care companies. “We’re gonna take their power away and we’re not gonna have this kind of problem again.”

Now that is the type of talk we need to hear, something not being mentioned by Hillary or Obama. Hillary we know is in their back pocket, Obama I am not too sure about but regardless of the money, the people they are pandering to are not the people that care about Nataline and any other young 17 year old girl that can be killed by Cigna, or Blue Cross, or United Health or any of the others out there that care about risk management over human beings.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Record Breaking Republicans

From a do-nothing Congress to an obstructionist minority, the Republicans set out to break a record....and by golly, they smashed it in less than a year, Cenk Uyugr details their Guinness book feats:

NY And Others To Sue Bush Over Auto Emission Standards

The Bush Administration obviously does not care about combating global warming in an aggressive way, but that doesn't mean we must follow his lead. Bush had his E.P.A. headed by Stephen Johnson to deny emission waivers to New York, California and others who wanted to curb auto emissions with better efficiency than the President's legislation dictated. Of course, that isn't going to stop the multitude of states that care about mandating environmental change, despite what the auto industry wants gift-wrapped by George.

From The Times-Union:

ALBANY -- New York will sue to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's blocking of efforts by major states to reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is not the last word on this crucial issue. We will be suing," said Judith Enck, deputy environmental secretary to Gov. Eliot Spitzer. "We need every tool we can get to combat global warming."

On Wednesday, the EPA denied a request by California, which has its own vehicle emissions standards, for a waiver under the Clean Air Act to make further cuts starting in 2009. New York and 16 other states were waiting for federal permission to follow California standards.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also said Thursday he will sue to reverse the EPA's decision, which was given two years after California's request, and only after the state sued to force action. The EPA initially argued it had no authority over greenhouse gas emissions, but the Supreme Court ruled otherwise in a Massachusetts case.

With a little over a year left in his term, Bush is limping out (despite Congress' best efforts) as the worst President ever and despised by more Americans than any other in history. Out of 43, he is in dead last. Everyone knows he'll side with a campaign-contributing industry that hurts the environment over the health and well being of the people in a heartbeat. His decision is no surprise to anyone, but that does not mean we need to take it. Thankfully there are Governors out there like Spitzer and Schwarzenegger that are willing to challenge him on this important issue.

Late Night Links

Tomorrow, or shall I say today will be a long travel day for me so I doubt if I'll get to post much this second to last Friday of the year or even much at all for the next week. Probably some light posting here and there as long as I am out of town. So as I sit and wait to head out to the airport to catch a 5:30 AM flight, here are a few things catching my eye, and probably yours.

  • Here in the city, it seems that the M.T.A. isn't only raising the fare, they'll be collecting a lot of loose change with the new 15% bonus level, leaving many MetroCards with nickels and dimes instead of whole trips that the current 20% level affords. Is this some sort of stealthy theft by Elliot Sander and his bunch?
  • The Gotham Gazette reviews the biggest New York news stories this past year. Jeez, I remember them all like it happened yesterday, where did 2007 go?
  • The case of the mysterious bench on Houston is still unsolved, but the bench is gone. Did anyone even get a chance to try and sit on this, I couldn't even find the time to make it down to see the damn thing.
  • In national politics, local blog The Albany Project graphically details Rudy's precipitous drop in the polls.
  • Meanwhile, Romney tries to emulate the former Mayor by making shit up out of thin air.

Well goodnight all, time to finish packing and head out the door soon.

Just As Good As Ever

This is the very first PoliticsTV broadcast from two years ago, yet at this time of year, it fits just snugly into our national political debate (that is, inside O'Reilly's head).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Glenn Beck Wants To Tongue Ron Paul?

Parents, shield your children's eyes, everyone else remember to swallow the coffee before reading this or else the monitor will be splattered because when it comes to Glenn Beck, he can always catch the audience off-guard (perhaps thats what he hardly has much of an audience). The Beckster invited libertarian Republican candidate Ron Paul on the show and he really got Glenn's rocks off, semi-literally that is.

From Crooks and Liars:

video_wmv Download (577) | Play (697) video_mov Download (420) | Play (345) (h/t Bill)

Warning: Do not view this clip within one hour of eating, as it may induce severe gastrointestinal distress and/or vomiting.

Ron Paul joins Glenn Beck to further his platform of eliminating taxes and the IRS. I’ll leave aside the fact that a presidential candidate is endorsing citizens break existing laws as a “reasonable civil disobedience” and merely point out that while I think everyone can get behind not having our taxes go to wasteful projects like the black hole of the Iraq occupation or bridges to nowhere, our taxes also pay for a lot of really good things as well–like federal infrastructure, education and health care for seniors and veterans, and I can’t believe people could have spent the last seven years with the Bush Administration and not see the value of keeping those programs funded.

But piddly little details like that do not bother Glenn Beck. In fact, Beck finds himself quite aroused by Ron Paul.

GB: What is your proposal?

RP: Mine is to get rid of the IRS and not replacing it with anything by cutting a lot of spending, because we lived without an income tax before 1913, so I’m not interested in the flat tax or the…or the sales tax. Although anything would be better.

GB: Yeah. Just what you’re saying. I mean, you’re speaking, you’re speaking…you know. If we weren’t both men…you know. I’d like to french kiss you on the whole abolishing the IRS thing… You had me at hello.

I seriously do not want to hear about Glenn Beck french kissing on TV, whether its Dina Sansing, Ron Paul or anyone else. You would think Glenn could show a little respect to the candidate, even if he is for abolishing our modern way of life (at least after 1913).

President Bush Says He's Looking Forward To Going To Hell

Maybe not in so many words, but if he likes the company of men that are alumni of Time's Man of the Year, he'll be meeting a lot of people in a very hot place deep underground, with fire and brimstone to boot. President Bush was very candid (perhaps clueless as well) about the award and just might have revealed a little too much, even if the comments appear innocent on the outside.

From The Huffington Post:

President Bush gave an end of the year press conference today. Amid questions about congressional spending, the CIA tape investigation and the Iraq war, Bush was asked what he thought about TIME magazine's choice to name Russian President Vladimir Putin as its Person of the Year.

Bush responded, "You know I'm looking forward to seeing him at the alumni meeting of the men of the year...or the Persons of The Year. I don't know when it's going to be, but... " Bush was TIME's Person of The Year in 2000 and 2004.

If the dictator and/or Tsar-like Putin isn't bad enough to meet up with, he might want to remember who were some of the other winners of this wonderful award.

Jamie Leigh Jones Testifies To Congress

The Bush Justice Department never wanted to hear about her plight, so at least Congress is willing to hear her out....and hopefully do something about it, for her and for all women subjected to the abuses of KBR and Halliburton.

Tucker May Not Wear A Bowtie Anymore, But He's Still A Bastard

I love Mike Malloy's comments about Tucker. It is right on and pegs Tucker for the little scoundrel that he is. CNN was right to get rid of him and Begala for their Crossfire stupidity, and MSNBC will make the right choice when they cancel his current show. His take on Edwards' Christmas video was absolutely out of line and shows that there really isn't much to the soul of this petty little man.

From Crooks and Liars:

Download (1417) | Play (2086) video_mov Download (1582) | Play (982) h/t Jamie

On Wednesday’s Tucker, the hopefully soon to be unemployed host gets riled up because Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, had the nerve to mention homeless veterans and those less fortunate in his holiday ad. Tucker calls it the Scrooge ad, and then attacks Edwards for not being Jesusy enough, and mocks him for being wealthy. Tucker, as usual, is offensive, annoying and wrong.

Tucker, you wouldn't know "Jesusy" if it smacked you across the face. Please MSNBC, get rid of him already, he has already proven his worthlessness many times over.

Surprise, YOU Are On NSA Spy Satellite Camera!

If you do not think that having your phone tapped by the NSA without public knowledge was bad enough, then the Bush Administration has just the plan for you. Ya know those cool spy satellites from those CIA movies that can track terrorists with infrared cameras in space? Well, they actually do exist and now they are going to be used (or may already) on ordinary Americans. Just like in Will Smith's Enemy of the State, law enforcement agencies are going to be able to use high power cameras to check on people from the outer edges of the atmosphere. Welcome to the 21st century!

From RawStory:

A plan to dramatically widen US law enforcement agencies' access to data from powerful spy satellites is moving toward implementation, as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expects to finalize a charter for the program this week, according to a new report.

Chertoff insists the scheme to turn spy satellites -- that were originally designed for foreign surveillance -- on Americans is legal, although a House committee that would approve the program has not been updated on the program for three months.

"We still haven't seen the legal framework we requested or the standard operation procedures on how the NAO will actually be run," House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson tells the Wall Street Journal. Thompson was referring to the National Applications Office -- a new DHS subset that would coordinate access to spy-satellite data for non-military domestic agencies, including law enforcement.

Missing data on the framework? Congress hasn't heard about it yet? Well, they must have misplaced the documents or something, I'm sure the Bush Administration would never, ever, never ever never want to mislead them on how they are spying, or how they want to spy on their citizens.


Republican Sexscapades

Cenk Uyugr brings Cliff Schecter on the show to talk about all the sex stories going on related to the GOP.

Careful, it's a long clip.

Gene Russianoff Gives The Fare Increase A Silver Lining

Now that the fare increase is a reality, soon to hit straphangers pocketbooks early next year things are looking pretty glum. Not for the board members of the MTA of course, they get a free pass on Metrocards (if they ever even use them) and E-Z Pass tolls. Yet for the rest of us, Gene Russianoff reminds us that even though the battle was lost, the war against the transit authority is not over. Gene by the way, works for N.Y.P.I.R.G. and specifically for their Straphangers Campaign for the last twenty-five years.

From The Daily News:

  • The public holds Gov. Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg responsible for the fare hike. Through their statements and actions, the governor and mayor made this fare hike theirs. Any myth of independence for the MTA was obliterated. Spitzer, like his predecessor George Pataki, now has a huge political deficit on transit which he will have to make up before the 2010 election season.

    Spitzer committed to give major new transit aid by 2010. The MTA's financial plan calls for the state and city to contribute an additional $600 million a year to finance operating expenses, beginning in 2010. Just before Thanksgiving Spitzer said, "We are talking about a 2010 commitment of $600 million, shared with the city. That is an enormous commitment that we have made, that I have made, and we will be good for."

  • There is a lot of support in the state Legislature for helping the MTA and its riders. Led by state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, 61 legislators asked for a delay on the fare hike so they could consider transit needs during the regular state budget deliberations. The Assembly members wrote: "There are many strong reasons for increasing government aid to the MTA. There has been no permanent new state operating aid to MTA New York City Transit in at least a dozen years." The Senate majority and minority leaders also spoke out against the fare increase, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stressed the possibility for new state aid.

  • The MTA called its original fare proposal a "modest" hike, but it had to be scaled back. The MTA financial proposal called for regular fare increases every two years to track inflation. But there was little political appetite for a funding strategy that targets only the riding public. As a result, 40% of the original increase evaporated.

  • The transit fare will now likely be frozen for at least three years. The MTA's financial plan calls for holding fares until 2010, two years from now. But that's an election year for governor, so a fare hike in 2010 is unlikely. If New York adopts a pilot project to test congestion charges for entering Manhattan, there's a good argument for freezing the fare for the three-year trial run.

  • There is widespread agreement that any fare increase has to be equitable. Better discounts have historically come out of past fare battles, from free bus transfers to 24-hour senior half-fares to unlimited-ride MetroCards. This year's new 14-day unlimited-ride MetroCard is a step forward. It provides a greater discount than the seven-day card, but is more within reach of a 30-day MetroCard. In addition, riders who buy the less expensive pay-per-ride discount will see the smallest increase.

    Did this year's fare fight make a difference? I can understand the skepticism of many New Yorkers, but I think so.

  • I agree, it is hard to see a bright side to paying higher fares, but like everything else in life, there is more than meets the eye, especially when it wants to focus on the bad things. Russianoff has been an expert on fighting fare hikes for a long time and if he can see some good here, then I'll choose to see it as well.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Bush Administration Denies California A Chance To Have Cleaner Air

    The Bush Administration gave a nice fat victory to automakers today in California. The state is mired in air pollution problems across the state, from Fresno to the L.A. basin and neighboring Riverside County. I remember growing up there and the air in New York City is fresh and clean compared to L.A. The smog hanging over the valleys was so disgusting....well, enough about childhood memories. California wanted to do something about the problem, but Bush's EPA denied their waiver to the new Federal laws.

    From The New York Times:

    Had the E.P.A. agreed to the waiver, California and other states would have enacted rules requiring the auto companies to achieve a 30 percent reduction of emissions by cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles by 2016. The rules were set to begin taking effect with 2009 model year vehicles, some of which go on sale as soon as next month.

    Twelve states — Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — have adopted the California emissions standards, and the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah have said they planned to do so.

    The primary way for emissions to be reduced in automobiles is by improving fuel economy. Automakers must now achieve 27.5 m.p.g. for cars, and 22.2 m.p.g. for light trucks, including S.U.V.s and pickups.

    Bush's plan mandates a 35mpg standard by 2020, but California and the other states following their lead wanted to step it up a few notches. Car makers complained about having to improve fuel economy, so the E.P.A. dragged their feet at first, but finally made this terrible decision after being ordered to by the courts.

    Needless to say, environmental groups are not too pleased:

    "This decision is like pulling over the fire trucks on their way to the blaze," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, which supported the waiver. "For 40 years, E.P.A. administrators have recognized the important role that California plays in innovating new standards to fight pollution."[...]

    "By blocking the California standards, the administration has stuck a thumb in the eye of 18 governors from both red and blue states who have led the way on global warming by adopting these landmark rules," said David Doniger, climate center policy director for the National Resources Defense Council.

    How anyone besides the automakers could be happy about this seems impossible. Well, perhaps the freaks inside the White House as well.