Saturday, January 20, 2007

Presidential Candidate Weekend: Clinton, Richardson and Brownback

It seems like everyone who has been rumored to come out and run is doing it this weekend. First we had Bill Richardson announce his intentions yesterday. Hillary Clinton followed suit today for the Democratic nomination and Sen. Brownback made it official for the Republicans. All three have been noted as serious candidates. For a time Hillary was the candidate on the left, though the chairsmatic Edwards and Obamarama has forced Clinton to show her cards. Brownback's announcement brings a social and fiscal conservative to the table, unlike McCain who has only recently tried to change his stripes to fit those on the far right.

Hillary announced with the theme of talking to the party. She wants to have an online chat with the Democratic party in order to keep up with the YouTubing Edwards and Obama. We'll see how far that goes. See her statement here.

Gov. Bill Richardson is known to be the best candidate on paper. Recently returned from Darfur, his trip had the reward of brokering peace in the troubled region. He has headed the Democratic Governor's Association and is a strong leader in New Mexico. Like Hillary, he needs to catch up to the candidates that already have a huge head start.

Senator Sam Brownback
is the bible belt's dream. He has done and said all the right things for that crowd. Of course the party has mostly been behind McCain, who already has lined up key endorsements and more importantly financial backers for what is going to be an expensive race.

Welcome all to the field, now its time to get ugly, hopefully we will see some positive ideas and not campaign crap that politics has been used to for far too long.

Friday, January 19, 2007

How Much Did That Cost?

Campaigning is becoming more and more pricey every time Americans go to the polls. From the Presidential race that sees hundreds of millions spent, to the U.S. Senate races that spend tens of millions and even the little local races that are attract big donors.

Swing State Project has some numbers on just how much some of the Democratic freshmen spent to oust the Republican incumbents during the 2006 election cycle:

District Candidate Spent DCCC IEs Other IEs Incumbent Spent NRCC IEs Other IEs
AZ-05 Mitchell $1.89M $2.12M $1.02M Hayworth $2.94M $2.25M $7k
CA-11 McNerney $2.34M $216k $1.1M Pombo $4.51M $1.43M $18k
CT-02 Courtney $2.37M $2.07M $1k Simmons $3.09M $2.74M $14k
CT-05 Murphy $2.44M $2.08M $975k Johnson $4.98M $1.88M $456k
FL-22 Klein $4.14M $2.31M $25k Shaw $5.19M $3.35M $217k
IN-02 Donnelly $1.49M $918k $355k Chocola $3.39M $383k $43k
IN-08 Ellsworth $1.72M $2.21M $166k Hostettler $530k $1.87M $21k
IN-09 Hill $1.86M $3.08M $75k Sodrel $2.64M $3.25M $69k
IA-02 Loebsack $443k (none) (none) Leach $519k $21k (none)
KS-02 Boyda $655k $652k (none) Ryun $1.03M $272k (none)
KY-03 Yarmuth $2.2M $321k $5k Northup $3.4M $248k $1.01M
MN-01 Walz $1.23M $371k $722k Gutknecht $1.69M $409k $22k
NC-11 Shuler $1.75M $171k $267k Taylor $4.11M $1.54M $19k
NH-01 Shea-Porter $286k (none) (none) Bradley $856k $21k (none)
NH-02 Hodes $1.47M $1.12M $198k Bass $1.21M $472k $24k
NY-19 Hall $1.57M (none) $5k Kelly $2.46M $19k (none)
NY-20 Gillibrand $2.47M $789k $333k Sweeney $3.38M $592k (none)
PA-04 Altmire $1M $399k $739k Hart $2.17M $619k $19k
PA-07 Sestak $2.92M $1.93M $277k Weldon $2.89M $3.56M $13k
PA-08 Murphy $2.35M $1.72M $189k Fitzpatrick $3.13M $3.62M $11k
PA-10 Carney $1.51M $1.11M $683k Sherwood $2.27M $1.51M $10k
$38.1M $23.6M $7.1M
$56.4M $30.1M $2M

Despite being outspent in these districts by almost $20 million dollars, Democrats persevered and took out these rubber-stampers of the Bush Regime. Republicans are becoming increasingly fractured as a cohesive party, with many voting for the recent Democratic reforms enacted in the first 100 42 hours. Yet as long as Bush keeps on being the Decider and acting against the will of the American people, you can expect more Republican defeats in 2008.

Bill O'Reilly Hates NBC, Fox Hates Obama

We all know about Bill O's vendetta against all people and things connected to NBC. The guy is off his rocker on this attack, amongst other reasons. Now an impressive case is building against Fox News having their own crusade against the junior Senator from Illinois and recent addition to the 2008 Democratic nomination for President.

At first we heard about the Obama/Osama mishap from various networks which apologized for their mistake. Fox saw that and committed the same error. Yesterday John Gibson was railing against Barack for his smoking habit with very imaginative graphics. Today Fox comes out over the top to claim that he may not be good for American national security because of alleged terrorist teachings.

Read the insanity from RawStory and see it on the video below:

Fox News Channel's morning program Fox & Friends pointed to a report on Friday that Sen. Barack Obama had attended a Muslim 'madrasa' while living in Indonesia as a 6-year-old child.

Host Steve Doocy went on highlight Obama's middle name, Hussein, and questioned whether Obama was indoctrinated in extremist Muslim doctrine.

It is only January 19th of 2007 and well over a year before the primaries. If Fox is going to throw fire now, what is going to be next? When is the FCC going to get a clue and revoke their license? Networks are given permission on an agreement to provide for the public good, not propraganda.

Think Progress has more.

Bob Ney Tries To Make Excuses, Gets More Jail Time

Ex- Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) was recently found guilty for being a scumbag and a crook. Okay 'scumbag' wasn't an official charge but it certainly fits. Ney reasoned that alcohol made him do it and that he was a morning to night drunk. Of course alcohol can make you do many foolish things but this goes over the top. Sober people can be just as cruel to their constituency and lose the trust of those around them as well.


WASHINGTON - Former Ohio Republican Representative Bob Ney, the only member of Congress to be criminally charged in the Jack Abramoff-lobbying scandal, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and fined $6,000 by U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle.

The Justice Department had asked for a term of 27 months in prison. The sentence was harsher than recommended by prosecutors or Ney's lawyers, Huvelle said, because Ney had violated the trust place on him as a public official. "Both your constituents and the public trusted you to represent them honestly," she said.

It is good to see justice being served. He is the first of dozens of corrupted elected officials surrounding Jack Abramoff's ring of crime. I hope to see many more be taken down in the same fashion. Criminals need to be dealt with accordingly and there are no exceptions given for those in Congress or the Bush Adminstration.

Democrats Beat The Clock

Following the 'Do-Nothing' 109th Congress, Speaker Pelosi's heralded '100 hours' agenda was completed in only forty-two hours of legislative time. When the Democratic party took charge in the House of Representatives they immediately passed ethics reforms where there was hardly any ethical behavior occuring. From there the 9/11 resolutions were implemented, the minimum wage was boosted, the government was allowed to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for fair prices, take subsidies away from the filthy rich oil industry and reduce the cost of student loans.

If they can do all of that in forty-two hours, imagine what the next two years will be like. Even the Republicans were in awe of the strength and resolve of the Democrats implementing the plans we've had that many on the right claimed never existed.

Speaker Pelosi had some words to share and blogged on HuffPost yesterday:

As President Bush called for an escalation of the war, I made my position clear both in a joint letter with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the President, and in an interview with Bob Schieffer on CBS' "Face the Nation": no escalation. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. The American people have spoken on this issue, and so too have President Bush's own generals. In November the American people sent a resounding message that they want a new direction in Iraq, not more of the same. In December, General Abizaid testified before the Senate that in his conversations with General Dempsey and with General Casey, they believe that adding more troops will not improve the situation.

When I addressed my colleagues and the nation after receiving the Speaker's gavel, I talked about the war and the need for a new direction to the applause of many Republicans. When I talked about the responsible redeployment of our troops, a standing ovation pervaded throughout the House, and certainly not just Democrats. This isn't just about Democrats; this is about the American people. They are watching to see what difference this election can make. The President ought to heed their message. We should not be obliged to an open-ended war, and as Speaker, I can assure you that the days of the blank check for President Bush in Iraq are over.

On Iraq and on all of these issues, there is a palpable feeling in the halls of Congress, one that I hope all who read this are sensing as well: Progress is possible again.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) had this to say:

"Bully for the Democrats...They did what we didn't have the guts to do when it matters."

Thats right Flake, we are in charge and we are getting things done to reform America for the better. Watch out world here we come!

Colbert vs. Falafel: Round Two

A few hours after Stephen Colbert visited Fox News studios Bill O came to Comedy Central's westside studios. Colbert showed O'Lielly his lying face framed on the wall of the studio as the audience booed him coming out.

Bill starts attacking Stephen in his 'culture war' while Colbert keeps up the act of imitating O'Reilly (actual spelling). Bill can't help but mention his vendetta against NBC.

Colbert cuts him off by floating the idea of Bill going undercover as a secular progressive, the photoshopped O'Reilly is the key part of the episode in my opinion at the 4:45 mark. As expected, round two was much better than the afternoon version and the crowd finished Bill off.

Update: I spoke with Ed Garcia at 95.5 FM at 9:50 this morning about the topic over in Harrisonburg, VA.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Colbert Goes On O'Falafel Factor

I must say that Colbert (as in Bert and Ernie) played it very cool on the Faux News Channel. He argued that emulation is not imitation and that is what Colbert aspires to. I was hoping for a full out war between the two, yet Stephen only took one slight job that Falafel either didn't respond to or it went completely over his head. See if you can catch it. Remember to stay tuned later tonight when Bill goes on the Colbert ( Kol- Behr) Show.

Crooks and Liars has the goods and here's the YouTube:

Now The Wingers Are Messing With My Hometown

I am a New Yorker at heart and thankfully live here now, but I did grow up in L.A. So when a winger like Ann Coulter talks shit about the city of angels, it pisses me off. Of course she is a certified nutcase and under investigation for multiple crimes but this had to be mentioned.

Recently John McCain and Mitt Romney compared NYC to Iraq, now the crazy blond-hair lady compared the civil war in Iraq to California. To her Baghdad is like Los Angeles in that the crips and bloods fight amongst themselves as the Sunni and Shias are slaughtering each other on the streets of Baghdad.

See the insanity if you wish, from Crooks and Liars.

Seriously, when is the media going to understand that putting this woman on television is never a good idea. I don't care about ratings, we need some sanity on cable news and she certainly does not contribute anything like that.

Cartman Saves The Day

Leave it to South Park to make light of the battle between us anti-war protesters and those that want us to fight wherever possible. Cartman goes back in time to hear Benjamin Franklin's 'wise words of wisdom'.

NYC 911/311 Goes High Tech

It is general knowledge that when you see or experience a crime or an emergency the natural response is to call 911. If your landlord is a bastard and you are sick of their lies, you call 311 and report their a**. Well things are changing my friends. With camera phones abound in the city, you can now record a crime on your cellphone and send an SMS to 911.

From the Gothamist:

The mayor's "criminal justice coordinator" John Feinblatt told the Times, "This is absolutely brand new for law enforcement, and it’s absolutely new for a call center like 311, but by no means is it new technology. So what we’re going to do is take applications that already exist in the industry and adapt them to 911 and 311." Feinblatt and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly both pointed to the incident where Thao Nguyen took a cellphone picture of Dan Hoyt pleasuring himself on a subway, posted it on the Internet, all leading to Hoyt's arrest (this wasn't his first offense, either!). Others have used cellphones to try to nab wrongdoers as well. Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel tells the Post he thinks would be "no civil liberties objections" if the photographs are of "criminal behavior."

And New Yorkers would be able to log quality of life issues the same way to 311. How very reminiscent of Andrew Rasiej's "We Fix NYC" pothole tracking! But we don't recommend you email 311 every time when you see that poop on the street because that'll get old.

Sounds like a foolproof system on the surface though the second thought that popped in my head was how many skilled photoshoppers I know. Wouldn't it be possible to manipulate a video or image before sending it off to 311 or 911. It could wreak havoc for those with grudges held against them. Of course that is just a side effect and anyone can find a loophole in a system like this. I almost feel like going to East New York with a cellphone camera strapped to my head, though I think I'll stick to crime fighting in the city.

UES Biz Sues City To Remove Homeless From Sidewalk

Obviously the sidewalk outside Karl Kemp & Associates Antique store on Madison Ave in the Upper East Side is pricey real estate. The owner has had homeless people using the concrete slab outside as a residence for two years and he can't take it anymore. So the guy is suing the city for $1 million to clean up his exterior image.

From the NY Times:

Besides seeking $1 million in damages — the dealer’s lawyer said he put in a figure for legal reasons — the suit also asks for a restraining order requiring them to stay at least 100 feet from the store. The suit notes that the antiques dealer is located “within the heart of New York’s most exclusive Madison Avenue shopping district,” with neighbors like Gucci, Chanel and Prada.

Mr. Kemp says that the dress and behavior of the homeless people has discouraged some people from going into his store. The suit, which was filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday and was first reported in The New York Sun, identifies the homeless plaintiffs only as John Smith, John Doe, Bob Doe and Jane Doe.

The suit alleges that the Smith and Doe families have discouraged business from his store, while drinking heavily and harassing prospective customers. Mr. Kemp wishes they would take advantage of shelters and is encouraging it by appealing to his landlord to reroute the heating ducts that make the sidewalk so attractive.

The Coalition for the Homeless had some words for Mr. Kemp:

Shelly Nortz, deputy executive director for policy for the Coalition for the Homeless, said Mr. Kemp’s legal action was mean-spirited and that in her 25 years of working as an advocate for the homeless, she had never heard of a similar suit by an individual against a homeless person.

“I think it’s preposterous,” she said. “Until we see to it that every single homeless individual has a place to stay, this is our reality.”

Ms. Nortz also questioned the legitimacy of the lawsuit. “What law is it that these homeless individuals have violated?” she asked. “It’s not spelled out here. The complaint that they somehow occasionally occupy a space that is also home to Gucci and Chanel doesn’t mean that they’re breaking any law.”

Sorry Mr. Kemp, welcome to New York. Instead of complaining try helping out instead of waging a campaign against the homeless. Check out Daily Gotham's take on it as well.

Protesters Attacked In Memphis: Police Look Away!

Memphis hosted the National Conference for Media Reform last week with many well-known media personalities such as McJoan from DailyKos, Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman and others. Supposedly the conference went very well but late last Friday night things got ugly on the famous Beale St. in Memphis.

The 'Chain Gang' sponsored by the Backbone Campaign marched down the street in their costumes while reading off Bush's list of war crimes. Apparently some drunk patrons inside the bars didn't approve and came out to attack the Chain Gang. Meanwhile a police car stationed down the street looked at the melee and decided to turn away and leave!

From Rawstory:

"I saw arms and legs everywhere. Some guy came out of a bar and had blindsided us. He hit two members in the back of the head." One of the protesters took off his mask and struck back at his assailant, she noted.

"Then some bouncers came out of a bar and there was a melee." Finally pulling off her mask, she said she saw "legs and arms flying everywhere."

According to Cummings and another demonstrator interviewed by RAW STORY, a Memphis Police car was parked at the end of the street, from which officers should have been able to observe the frantic scene. But, Cummings claimed, "the Memphis Police officers took one look and drove away."

What was a peaceful protest disintegrated into chaos while the cops looked away indifferently. As far as I know aggrevated assault is still a crime in Memphis and should be handled by local authorities. Thankfully though the situation handled itself. After being assaulted, the protesters talked to their attacker, who turned out to be a very drunk Iraq veteran.

"Why are you doing this to our President?" the veteran asked. "You don’t understand what we’ve been through and what we’ve done."

He then reportedly told the protesters that he harbored doubts about the President’s role in the 9-11 terror attacks.

"What if he did it?" the vet asked rhetorically, according to Cummings, a long-time peace activist who volunteers at military hospitals to assist wounded soldiers. "But he’s still the Commander in Chief. We thought we were killing Iraqis to protect you.’"

Cummings added, "He was crying and incoherent. We said 'We love you and support the troops. We’ve had many young Iraq veterans who are our friends.'"

"I’m still active duty and I don’t know what to do," the young men reportedly told the activists.

Cummings added, "We tried to hug him, but he pushed us away.'"

After all of that things were quieting down when protester Barbara Cummings was hit in the back of the head. The assailant recoiled and said 'I didn’t know you were a lady'.

Currently there are no charges filed against the attackers or the policemen/women that didn't do their job. The Public Information Officer Sgt. Vince Higgins of the Memphis Police Dept. said that the officers were responsible for 'derelIction' of duty at the least.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hillary Attacks Edwards, Comes Off 'Over-Sensitive'

This past Sunday John Edwards gave a rousing speech to a packed audience at the Riverside Church here in Manhattan. He called on the Congress to stop funding the immoral war that Bush recklessly began nearly four years ago. A noble gesture that had me and two thousand others in the church applauding for several moments.

Apparently Hillary Clinton took his statements a little too personally. Senior advisor Howard Wolfson fired this off at Edwards:

"In 2004, John Edwards used to constantly brag about running a positive campaign. Today, he has unfortunately chosen to open his campaign with political attacks on Democrats who are fighting the Bush administration's Iraq policy."

Of course Edwards never mentioned Hillary by name. He called on all of Congress to take steps to end the war. In my view this would be a postive thing to do, since the war is, well you know, bad. So Edwards defended himself on the cable networks today:

Edwards played it cool and calm, while making the still-unannounced Hillary looking for a fight. The gloves are coming off early for the Clinton camp and we haven't seen anything yet.

What Would You Do With $1.2 Trillion?

I wouldn't know what to do with $1.2 billion, let alone $1.2 trillion. We know what Bush has done with that massive amount of money. He spent it on Iraq (PDF File). He spent it on guns, contractors and lost revenue from all the national guard and reserve units that are being deployed once, twice, three times overseas instead of that 'one weekend a month, two weeks a year' bullshit that the National Guard used to advertise about.

The business section in the NY Times has some ideas:

For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.

Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.

The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted. Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur.

So we could have secured our nation and made it a better place to live, regardless of our socio-economic position? We could have started rebuilding New Orleans as well? The decider has no idea on how to decide anything wherein it benefits Americans and not just Bush and the cronies that surround him

Our President on 'Sacrifice'

The question was posed to Bush on 60 Minutes whether it was fair that only the military had to sacrifice, as in the 3,026 soldiers (plus contractors, reporters, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis) who have been killed in Iraq. The question implied that no new taxes have been imposed to pay for the war and that Bush told the country after 9/11 to shop, so that the terrorists wouldn't win. So what was his answer?

"Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night."

Well we already know that Barbara Bush doesn't watch terrible footage on the news. Personally, I lost my 'peace of mind' when Bush entered office. The guy was a fraud when he got there and he still is now. Americans that choose to watch will be sacrificing, if that is what you want to call it. I call it desensitization to violence in Iraq. Now Iraq only makes the news if more than fifty people died. Last year it was twenty. Real sacrifice is something Bush has no concept of. He didn't sacrifice during Vietnam and he is doing no such thing now.

MoveOn: Showing McCain's True Colors

Kudos to MoveOn for broadcasting this ad in New Hampshire and Iowa. People need to see exactly what McCain stands for, and who he has stood behind for so long.

NYC: State Of The City

Giuliani's annoited one is about to give his State of the City speech tonight. With our huge surplus Bloomberg is prepared to announce massive tax cuts, but for whom? Certainly not the poor and the middle class that need the break in our expensive city. No, not surprisingly, he'll be targeting people more like himself.

From The Daily Gotham:

The Mayor is very popular. People seem not blame him when his police shoot 50 bullets into unarmed folk; they blame the police commissioner. Even though the schools, under Mayor Bloomberg, are not doing well (remember, he asked to be judged on his success at running the schools), people don’t blame him. Even though affordable housing has all but disappeared and actual hunger appears to be increasing, people don’t blame him. People seem to forgive traffic congestion approaching paralysis and Mayor Bloomberg appears to be getting away with handing over Randalls Island Stadium to Manhattan’s most elite private school. Teflon, thy name is Bloomberg.

Awash in cash, the Mayor proposes $1 billion in tax cuts although no corrections for the wild inequities in the property tax system that has $20 Million 15 room upper East side coops paying lowers taxes than small homes in Queens costing 1% of that. Interestingly, it appears that those fees which fall entirely on the poor – for repairs at the Housing Authority, for example, or for recreation in low income neighborhoods will be maintained. (Also check out Larry Littlefield's elliptical, funny critique.) And a small, but actually affordable housing program, is the subject of great ├ęclat for its chic design. You may also have noticed the bizarre puff-piece praising Amanda Burden burden the other day with which Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report had so much fun.. For an excellent review of one of Mr. Bloomberg more bizarre educational blunders see Vanentina Ramia's recent roundup at the DMI Blog.

As a New Yorker, I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else despite the problems. Though we need to fix our fair city so that everyone gets an equal break, not just the wealthy elite. We need to provide for the hungry, help those with housing needs and provide justice for those wronged, even if they are cops.

Fox's 24: Is Jack Bauer A White House Shill?

From Alternet:

"24" is back on Fox TV -- the hit show starring Kiefer Sutherland, which premiered Sunday night, once again features at least one big torture scene in every episode -- the kind of torture the Bush White House says is necessary to protect us from you-know-who.

The show is much more convincing than the White House at making the case for torture; its ratings have gone steadily up over the last five years, while Bush's ratings have gone steadily down.

The fast-pace, intense drama that is '24' is increasing its ratings across the country. The latest show demonstrates a nuclear bomb detonating inside the United States. It would be a nightmare come true if this actually happened though for now it frightens viewers and similar episodes grip its viewers on a weekly basis. Interestingly enough, TIME/CNN recently reported that Vice President Dick Cheney is a fan of the show.

MSNBC asks if '24' promotes torture and spreads fear:

Of course the show is entertainment yet is this what constitutes drama on television these days? As more and more people see acts of torture portrayed on their television screens it desensitizes viewers to the despicable acts that so many condone. Television has certainly numbed people to the effects of violence for some time now, this seems to take it to the next level.

Cialis Makes Soap?

I've heard before that the drug companies made a host of gimmicks to remind their doctors that their pills and concoctions are around and to generally send the message to the public that there is no health care in this country without Big Pharma's guiding hand. Of course the little toys consist of pens, pencils, notepads, clipboards and the like.

That is why this bottle of soap at my doctor's office really (a) scared the shit out of me, (b) worried me about what would happen to my hands if I used the soap and (c) made me wonder how f***ed up our medical system is today.

If you see this in your doctor's office, just remember it's okay, nothing happens to your hands. Except for getting clean that is.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Obama Makes It Official

We all knew this was coming sooner or later. With the hype surrounding John Edwards and other hats being tossed in the ring such as Gov. Vilsack and Sen. Dodd, it was finally time for Obama to declare his candidacy for President. As the rumors came out about Obama's appearance on Oprah scheduled for tomorrow Barack broadcast this video today.

McCain Panders, Dobson Smacks Him Down

John McCain has been doing almost everything to achieve the support of the religious right in order to win the most important voting bloc of the Republican primaries. The so-called 'maverick' has expunged any moderate tendencies he may have had in the past to win in 2008. Three years ago he toured the country in support of 'born-again' Bush, even after he was scoured by the Bush campaign in 2000, especially during the South Carolina primary.

So how do the leaders of the religious right repay Senator McCain for selling his soul?

Thats right, he got nothing. Dobson just trashes him and implicitly tells his flock to distance themselves from McCain by praying not to get stuck with him. Wow, prayers against McCain. What will the Republican establishment do? They already have the top operatives on his campaign. Switching to Giuliani will be impossible when the bible belt gets to watch this video.

I guess we'll just have to watch things develop implode for the Republican party.

Glenn Beck and Oreo Cookies

I know Glenn Beck is a Grade-A schmuck, we all know this, even he probably knows it. Yet each time he opens that garbage-hole that is his mouth, each saying is still as offensive as every other audacious comment that he spews onto television screens that have CNN Headline News on. So what's the big deal about mentioning Oreo cookies? It's not the cookies he's talking about my friends.

CNN Transcript:

What happened to the Duke lacrosse team was practically a lynching without the rope. And for the first time in my life, Mr. Oreo Cookie without the chocolate on the outside can understand why people celebrated when O.J. Simpson was acquitted.....
Here's what I don't know. Will the leaders who rallied the troops against the Duke lacrosse team now take a stand and say lynching is bad, no matter what the color?......

BECK: You know, I am -- maybe it's just me. I just see this as a lynching. I mean, it really was a lynching without the -- without the rope. How often does that stuff happen?
Memo to Glenn, making racially charged comments like that is not funny. Maybe he does too many shows at the local KKK meetings or David Duke parties. Also, lynchings are not the same as examining rape cases Glennie boy and referencing the racial slur 'Oreo cookie' is completely unacceptable. Beck is absolutely disgusting and the networks (CNN and ABC) that carry him should be ashamed of themselves. My Two Sense reminds us what a lynching actually is.

Borat's Golden Victory

Cheers to Sacha Cohen and Ken Davitian!

Cohen's acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical Motion picture:

This movie was a life-changing experience. I saw some amazing, beautiful, invigorating parts of America but I saw some dark parts of America. An ugly side of America, a side of America that rarely sees the light of day. I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my co-star, Ken Davitian...

When I was in that scene, and I stared down and saw your two wrinkled Golden Globes on my chin, I thought to myself, I'd better win a bloody award for this.

And then when my 300-pound co-star decided to sit on my face and squeeze the oxygen from my lungs, I was faced with a choice. Death, or to breathe in the air that had been trapped in a small pocket between his buttocks for 30 years. Kenneth, if it was not for that rancid bubble, I would not be here today. Thank you.

Live Blogging The Libby Trial

Oh you know this is going to be good. The 'trial of 2007', at least in the first few weeks of the new year. Libby is in a lot of trouble and is looking for a way out. Implicating higher-ups could be the best route to attain those ends. Look out Cheney, you might be facing some loud music in the near future.

The trial will also include the first live-blogging of a major trial. Two bloggers will be allowed in the courtroom at a time and those spots will be filled on a weekly, rotating basis. Finally a biased opinion that doesn't come from corporate America. The regulars like CNN, MSNBC and that other place may claim to be unbiased but we all know that's a load of crap. See more at TalkLeft.

Those guys should be shaking in their boots. Chris 'Tweety' Matthews is one of those DC elites and constantly flirts with the lines of ethical journalistic standards. Fineman talks about the how the run up to the war will be revisited and how the press played into the White House's manipulative hands.

Edwards YouTubes Speech Excerpts from Riverside Church

I'm glad to have seen this video show up on John Edwards' YouTube account earlier. Now you can all see a few minutes of what I took in at Riverside Church on Sunday afternoon.

By the way, if you look close, I am one-third of the way back from the stage, first seat to the right of the center aisle. Where's Waldo? How about Where's Josh.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dr. King Spoke About War At This Church

An earlier post today covered the 2nd annual MLK event at the Riverside Church here in NYC. Senator Edwards referenced Dr. King's speech when he said that silence was betrayal when it comes to the war. Here is an audio broadcast of his incredible words on April 4th, 1967. His message is as imperative today as it was when we were losing soldiers in Vietnam nearly forty years ago.

Jokes and Consumerism Dominate Media: Human Event Stories Suffer

With numerous twenty-four hour cable news networks, a declining but still healthy print media and a plethora of local news outlets you would believe that what is news in this world would be covered. The human interest story that connects people with their fellow man should be an easy decision to cover. Unfortunately the media in America is not interested in items like that. Botched jokes and the latest gadget that is sold on takes far more space in what we see and read than matters of life and death around the world.

Truly Equal points us to Doctors' Without Borders annual top ten list of underreported stores. Of these ten, seven minutes of airtime was dedicated, combined! The top ten are listed below in no particular order.

Somalia - Somalis Trapped by War and Disaster
Central African Republic - Fleeing Violence in the Central African Republic (CAR)
Tuberculosis - Increasing Human Toll Taken by Tuberculosis
Chechnya - Consequences of Bitter Conflict in Chechnya
Sri Lanka - Civilians Under Fire in Sri Lanka While Assistance is Limited
Malnutrition - Effective Strategies for Treating Malnutrition Not Implemented
Democratic Republic of Congo - Congolese Endure Extreme Deprivation and Violence
Colombia - Living in Fear in Colombia
Haiti - Violence Rages in Haiti’s Volatile Capital
Central India - Clashes in Central India

Where is the in-depth reporting on these issues? Is it too much work for our journalist community to send reporters to put these matters on the front pages of our newspapers and in the thousands of news segments taped daily? Perhaps the press believes that people want to be happy in a state of delusion and that George Foreman's seventh edition grill is much more important?

Earth to journalists, it is your job to cover the news, no matter what it is. Stop showing us garbage that you think will give you the best ratings and give us the truth!

Even John Bolton Calls Iraq A Civil War

Now that the moustache man has departed from Team Delusional (a.k.a. Bush Admin.) he has shown a little bit of a sense of reality. Even though the ex-U.N. Ambassador wanted to see the top ten floors of the U.N. taken down, he knows how grave the situation in Iraq is, even if his former superiors choose not to acknowledge it.

From C & L with video:

Bolton: Well look, the fundamental point is whether the civil war that exists now is going to continue or whether the Iraqis are going to decide to live together in one country.

Well of course he told this to a U.K. station, heaven help us if he told people in the U.S. where he actually resides. Thankfully some active citizens caught the segment and delivered it to the internets for all to see.

Senator Webb Actually Supports The Troops!

Unlike his predecessor George 'Macaca' Allen, Jim Webb has already done something to help the brave men and women in combat instead of using empty rhetoric of others. As a military man, he understands the needs of those who serve in uniform as opposed to the Republican chickenhawks that don't give a damn.

From Bob Geiger:

Keeping a promise he made on the campaign trail in 2006, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) did more for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on his first day in the Senate than the man he ousted, George Felix Allen, did in the entire previous Congress.

Going unnoticed in the frenzy of Democrats assuming control of Capitol Hill and George W. Bush seeking to plunge the country deeper into the Iraq quagmire, Webb introduced the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007, legislation that will provide the newest Veterans with educational benefits like those received by men and women who served in the three decades following World War II.

When I was in Virginia at Webb's inaugural party nearly two weeks ago he talked about how he was going to follow up on his campaign promise to the soldiers. I never thought it would be less than two weeks later that it would be put into action. Kudos to you Senator!

Silence Is Betrayal: John Edwards at Riverside Church

Yesterday afternoon I was one of 1,200 to 2,000 people ( AP on the low end and the NY Times on the high end) who assembled at the Riverside Church in Manhattan for a special occasion. We came from different religious backgrounds, class backgrounds and ethnic backgrounds; yet all of us came together for a common purpose.

Our purpose was to remember Dr. King, to celebrate his legacy and to realize the dream that the great Reverend so eloquently told us about with his "I Have A Dream" speech and numerous sermons through the years. Yesterday the congregation was treated to an incredible procession of the great orators of our day. The messages of hope, remembrance and a call to service had the whole congregation on their feet.

If you haven't been inside Riverside Church before, I highly recommend it. To say the edifice is impressive would be an understatement. Words cannot describe it, so I suggest you check out the pictures here.

Here's one I took:

After the prelude music by the Riverside Choir, we were treated to video excerpts of Dr. King. Then the lights went up and his son Martin Luther King III welcomed the congregation, meanwhile John and Elizabeth Edwards walked in to take their seats.

Rabbi Sarah Reines of the Central Synagogue provided the reading, co-founder of the Drum Major Institute William Wachtel gave his remarks and then the awe-inspiring Rev. Dr. James Forbes came up and delivered a powerful address. After a gospel solo Martin Luther King III came out and introduced the keynote speaker, Senator and Presidential candidate John Edwards. I would elaborate more on all of the speakers, though each one deserves post of their own.

Rev. Forbes


Senator Edwards' speech was nothing short of spectacular. Many of you have either seen the webcast or read excerpts of the text.
The energy in the nave of Riverside Church was simply awesome.

“If you are in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options,”

Although this speech was webcasted and/or televised, both Senator Schumer and Congressman Weiner sat in the front section and heard these words loud and clear. It is up to them and the rest of the Congress to take heed of this sound advice.

“I believe it is betrayal not to speak out against an escalation of the war in Iraq,” Mr. Edwards said, to a standing ovation.

That little snippet resulted in a three minute standing ovation. Even the NY Times noted it. Though the beginning of the speech was what really got to me.

Forty years ago, almost to the month, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at this pulpit, in this house of God, and with the full force of his conscience, his principles and his love of peace, denounced the war in Vietnam, calling it a tragedy that threatened to drag our nation down to dust.

As he put it then, there comes a time when silence is a betrayal -- not only of one's personal convictions, or even of one's country alone, but also of our deeper obligations to one another and to the brotherhood of man.

Echoing what King said and the times in which he said it made the comparison of Iraq and Vietnam crystal clear. Silence while the cruel sting of reality punctures our nation is truly a betrayal to the principles that our country was founded on. An active citizenry will hold the government accountable for its actions alongside a vigilant press. Unfortunately we don't have much of either currently but that can change. We have it in us to make that change.

John F. Kennedy once said:
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

His words of wisdom ring true to this day and every day beyond. It is imperative to remember that each day we can strive to do our best to make the world a better place, if only a small amount at a time.


After Edwards left the pulpit to a standing ovation, thirteen year old Joshua Govnor McVay-Bennett read Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech. Though reading wasn't necessary since the high school student memorized it when he was eight. Following him was Marian Wright Edelman of Children's Defense Fund. She spoke about the state of health care and poverty and that it is a crime for millions of children to not have health insurance.

The last speaker was Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid' from the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. He referenced the tale of Rip Van Winkle and how the character slept through the American Revolution. He warned the audience that there is a 'triple-revolution' going on in this country right now. One part is the advances in technology, one in the advancement of warfare capabilities and the human rights revolution that is occuring all over the globe. He stated that we must not sleep through this era and let it go by just as Rip Van Winkle had.

After a quick, but powerful closing remark by Martin Luther King III, dozens of brightly colored robed choirpeople came up to the front while Dr. Forbes went to the secondary pulpit high above the stage. He finished with inspiring words of wisdom that encouraged us to work for a better world.

At the end of the service, everyone held hands and sang 'We Shall Overcome.' It did not matter if we were a Senator, Congressman, Pastor, Christian, Jew, Muslim, poor, wealthy, black, white, yellow, blue or green; we sang as one. It was a true representation of what John Edwards calls 'One America.'

Opinions of War: Bill O'Reilly vs. Martin Luther King Jr.

Which one resembles democracy most? Which one echoes authoritarianism?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr.: The Dream Lives On

Take a few minutes and watch this monumental speech. Remember that we have come so far since that day in August of 1963, yet we have so much further to go. The divide between ethnicities, rich and poor and political differences still need tremendous work to heal our nation.

What Does Hell Look Like?

I've often pondered the question of heaven and hell. What is out there that waits for us in the afterlife, does it matter if we are good or bad? Now I am not a theology or religious authority, so I am going to stick to what I know here and now. I know that while our troops are being cut down in the middle of an increasingly vicious civil war, there is hell to pay for the families of the fallen.

I look at this picture and see the devil in the background.

Strippers, Private Jets and Joe Bruno

There was once one 'Joe' that provided me with constant frustration and ridiculous behavior (a certain Senator in Connecticut). Now I need to differentiate between Lieberman and Bruno. Joe Bruno can't stay out of the news these days. First the F.B.I. starts investigating him, then it turns out his son is tangled in his web of corruption and now it seems the pressure is getting to State Senator Joe.

What is one to do when duty calls and you just don't want to work? Hide away with the comfort of your family, especially with an ailing wife or perhaps just staying in seclusion? When you are Joe Bruno there are much better things calling your name. While a debate over sex offenders was taking place in Albany last year, Joe was off to Florida with some 'friends' for a good time.

From The Times-Union:

It was Jan. 11, a Wednesday, and a bitter political debate over sexual offender laws was unfolding as Bruno boarded the private jet of his friend, Jared E. Abbruzzese, a Loudonville multimillionaire.

The two-day excursion included an expensive round of golf at an exclusive course, The Medalist, designed by Australian golf legend Greg Norman.

The day would end with Abbruzzese bankrolling the senator's visit to a strip club. The trip, the Times Union has learned, has become one of many events being scrutinized by federal authorities in an ongoing criminal investigation of the unusual relationship between the senator and the businessman.

Playing some golf in the warm winter sun of South Florida sounds much more relaxing than working for his constituents up in Albany. Now playing a round of golf is nice, but can you think of something even better for the Senator?

On the drive back from the golf course, the men pulled into Rachel's, a high-class strip club and steakhouse in the heart of West Palm Beach. There, patrons are greeted by overly polite valets who spend much of their time parking Range Rovers and customized BMWs driven by an almost exclusively male clientele.

A source who spoke to the Times Union about the trip said Bruno had no idea what was in store, although a sign outside indicates the club offers "adult entertainment."

Inside, $40 steaks and $90 bottles of wine are delivered by bow-tied waiters in a darkened four-star atmosphere. On two stages in the center of the club, female performers, some fully nude, move fluidly under pulsing strobe lights while tunes from rockers such as Tom Petty and Jimi Hendrix pierce the air.

For those seeking a closer encounter, the women, many resembling Playboy centerfolds, offer private lap dances -- at a $20 minimum -- on a leather-covered bench near a secluded spot in the back.

Now that's what I call living it up! NYBri over at The Albany Project comments on the illustrious Sen. Bruno:

"... in true JB fashion, a high class stripper thing at that. No truck stop, girlie bars for the Republican State Senate Majority Leader, no sir."

Will reporters, or the F.B.I. be asking Joe how many lap dances he had down there last year? Perhaps his wife and family are curious as well. Since this was one lobbyist-paid trip left out of the Senator's official documents, authorities will definitely hunt for all the details from this sordid affair.

Environmental Entrepreneurship in NYC

Many people say that they acknowledge climate change and do little about it. A few recycle, a few deny it exists despite the ever-increasing temperatures. Then there are those that not only help the environment, but make a living from it.

Brent Baker, owner of Tri-State Biodiesel has not only found a comfortable niche in New York but he is doing a valuable service for the city. Many people have heard of the term 'bio-diesel' but don't understand exactly what it is. Baker can explain quite well.

From the NY Times:

With more than 20,000 restaurants in the city, Mr. Baker’s business model is simple: collect used fryer grease for free, and take it to a rendering plant where it is converted to biodiesel, to be sold back to consumers. The idea, said Mr. Baker, is to make things as easy as possible for the restaurant owners.

“A lot of them genuinely want to do the right thing for the environment,” he said. “So we give them the option of making that choice in a way that doesn’t hurt them economically.”

Now that is a lot of grease, which in turn creates a lot of fuel that does not have to come from oil. Bio-diesel is also much cleaner and the pollution content is far lower than conventional crude. The grease itself is an awful by-product of a restaurant that could clog and/or break pipes ( I know from personal experience), create an awful mess and otherwise.

Biodiesel is made from refining vegetable oils or animal fats, and is usually mixed with petroleum diesel to form a cleaner-burning fuel that can be used in most diesel engines. With New York’s many diesel-powered delivery and construction vehicles, there is a big market for the fuel, as well as the chance to improve the city’s environment and its inhabitants’ health, Mr. Baker says.

With support from the city and private investors, two-year-old Tri-State made its first grease pickup just before Christmas. Aaron Hoffman, owner of Wogies, a West Village sanctuary for expatriate Philadelphia sports fans, is one of the places that have signed on with Tri-State, and none too soon: He expects to deep-fry nearly 5,000 chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday.

Now that the Eagles are out of the playoffs there might not be so many wings fried at that joint, but you get the point. Tri-State Biodiesel services 100 restaurants, a mere 0.5 percent of the grease producing restaurants that help make NYC what it is (at least to my stomach). If you own a restaurant here and you are reading this, talk to Brent as soon as you can and help make a difference at your establishment. Don't live in NYC? Find a similar company in your area or take a step and help start one yourself!

Letterman's Top Ten Bush Moments

There has to be more than ten classic idiotic Dubya moments of all time. Though these are definitely worth watching.

Republicans Fall Like A House Of Cards

Something that looked so big and powerful when it swept into office twelve years ago is now nothing but an illusion. Last November's 'thumpin' by the Democratic party crushed Bush's failed agenda. Of course the Do-Nothing 109th Congress hardly got anything passed for the President. Bush didn't take that lying down however, he just ruled with his iron-coated fist. The President simply made 'laws' as he went, telling the American people about it on occasion if it seemed necessary to cover his ass. The loser in his trek was the United States, its citizens and the constitution which our great nation was founded on.

Now we enter a new era with the beginning of the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress. The Republicans are fracturing worse than fault lines in East Asia. Democrats are cruising through Speaker Pelosi's 100 hours plan, passing much needed reform that can help our country regain its footing at home. In addition to the necessary reforms, the Congress is renewing its commitment to provide checks and balances on the Executive branch. Oversight and accountability can be seen with the likes of the tenacious Sen. Webb, Rep. Waxman and many others.

Now that the party of the people is in charge, the once formidable Republican caucus is in tatters. Many Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Democratic bills, often providing veto-proof majorities. The long, dark shadows of men like Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay have been crushed by the powerful light that the Democratic leadership is showing. One hundred hours has not even passed (in legislative time) and so much has been done already, with so much more hope and reform to come.