Bill asked Senator Edwards some tough and blunt questions in his usual wry comedic style. John wouldn't talk about the 'third America' that resides in Vegas, though he was honest when asked about the drop in phone calls coming from Bill Clinton for campaign advice.
Edwards steered the interview very well and made it about honesty. Usually cynical, Maher looked very impressed with the answers he was given. Whether it was about raising taxes to provide universal health care or his plan to gradually remove troops from Iraq and to reform campaign finance. He cared more about giving real solutions to the country's problems than sounding like a typical candidate fishing for votes. Maher even stole McCain's old theme of straight-talk to describe Edwards' answers.
Overall Senator Edwards performed admirably and was well-spoken as usual. As one of the top three contenders for the Democratic nomination next year, he went above and beyond. Catch the video at JWHarrison's blog.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Bill asked Senator Edwards some tough and blunt questions in his usual wry comedic style. John wouldn't talk about the 'third America' that resides in Vegas, though he was honest when asked about the drop in phone calls coming from Bill Clinton for campaign advice.
Stephen Colbert highlights Fox Noise Channel's Steve Doocy on who should and shouldn't have a chair in the White House Press Room. His justification for the change is that he got 200 emails from
Fox News viewers brainwashed zombies that believe Helen should be replaced. Colbert has a problem with Helen and wants it solved....for safety's sake.
I have always respected Senator Lieberman for respecting the tenet of Orthodox Judaism that an observant Jew should not work on the Sabbath. During the 2000 Presidental campaign he never did anything for Gore/Lieberman on a Saturday. I have relatives that are Lubavitch and I know how important it is to rest on Shabbat. Since I am typing this on a Saturday, I differ from them in this regard and am more of a secular, humanist Jew.
However, Joe broke this tradition today to vote to keep the incredibly immoral war going and to give President Bush an unholy amount of executive power in the way he executes his illegal conflict in Iraq. He constantly lies, obfuscates and gives as much as he can in order to subvert the will of the American people to ratched this war down and ultimately end it. I have had little respect for Joe in the last few years as a cheerleader for Bush and now have diminshed respect for him and how he treats his Orthodox faith.
Blue Mountain is a popular site for free greeting cards and is used to send out birthday wishes, anniversary wishes and many more. On Valentine's Day they decided to get political with one of their electronic love notes. It was dominating to say the least. For some odd reason there was nothing out there that ripped Republicans but they certainly went after Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Howard Dean and others in the Democratic party.
The card was crude to say the least. It featured Nancy as a dominatrix that kept various Democrats on a chain leash while the card mentioned that the new party in power was set to throw out family values. Well when the wind whipped the card around the Internets a few of us got pissed off. I wanted to see the Republican version and sent them this email:
I saw the Democratic bondage card of yours tonight, very cute. It seems that you were implying that Democrats are throwing family values out the window. To me, that exposes your political motivation in making the card. So
where's the corrupt and kinky Republican edition?
Unfortunately they did not send me the card I was looking for. Instead they pulled the card from their inventory and sent me this copy-pasted reply instead:
Thank you for contacting BlueMountain.com Customer Service.
Thank you for sharing your feedback. Political satire is popular with our subscribers. However, we understand that this particular e-card was offensive to you and others. Therefore, we have removed it from the site. We apologize to you, and to the others
we offended. We always appreciate consumer feedback, and will take your comments into consideration when developing political satire in the future.
Your Customer Support Representative
Political satire is certainly popular Joshua M. Though when you repeat Republican talking points that disparage Democrats, it is only funny for a few sick bastards on the right. You can see they pulled the ad when you click on the link, its gone.
Here we go again, the man that (helped) caused Al Gore to not become President in 2000 might be back for another embarrassing run next year. The man has a thick ego to challenge the most stubborn of men. He was once on the good side, fighting corporate crime and having his 'Nader Raiders' fighting alongside with him way back when. Now he has become the ultimate spoilsport in American politics. Asked specifically if he would run in 2008, Nader said it is "too early to say. ... (I'm) considering it. We're going to see what the Democrats come up with.'' Nader made the statements in San Francisco while on a book tour to push his new memoir, "The Seventeen Traditions.'' Nader also spoke at the Commonwealth Club in California. Nader gained more than 2.7 percent of the national popular vote as the Green Party candidate for president in 2000, which some analysts said came primarily at the expense of Democrat Al Gore and helped Republican George W. Bush win the White House. In a second run four years later, Nader gained less than one-half of 1 percent. Phil Trounstine, who worked as communications director for former Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis, said Nader's hint that he might run for president again may tarnish his reputation as a longtime progressive and consumer advocate. "To an awful lot of people, Ralph Nader appears to be threatening, once again, to play the role of a spoiled brat whose purpose in life appears to be ... electing Republicans by draining off votes from Democrats,'' said Trounstine, who heads the San Jose State Center for Policy and Research.
From the SF Gate:
Personally I don't think of him as much a threat than a media spectacle. In 2000 2.7 percent of the vote made a difference. Half of a percent in 2004 showed he is on his way to becoming a statistical blip. Nevertheless, Democrats will continue to beat him over the head for 'stealing' 2000 for Bush and he will not be forgiven soon, especially as he continues to run with whatever party accepts him. Of course that's a tough one, even the Greens abandoned him last time.
Asked specifically if he would run in 2008, Nader said it is "too early to say. ... (I'm) considering it. We're going to see what the Democrats come up with.''
Nader made the statements in San Francisco while on a book tour to push his new memoir, "The Seventeen Traditions.'' Nader also spoke at the Commonwealth Club in California.
Nader gained more than 2.7 percent of the national popular vote as the Green Party candidate for president in 2000, which some analysts said came primarily at the expense of Democrat Al Gore and helped Republican George W. Bush win the White House. In a second run four years later, Nader gained less than one-half of 1 percent.
Phil Trounstine, who worked as communications director for former Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis, said Nader's hint that he might run for president again may tarnish his reputation as a longtime progressive and consumer advocate.
"To an awful lot of people, Ralph Nader appears to be threatening, once again, to play the role of a spoiled brat whose purpose in life appears to be ... electing Republicans by draining off votes from Democrats,'' said Trounstine, who heads the San Jose State Center for Policy and Research.
Esther Sparks is a native of Scotland and lives in New Orleans now. She sang this amazing song that sums up a lot about the war and the foreign policy our government pursues. Check out the website and listen to her 'Peace.'
'Real Time' on HBO, the new season kicked off just a couple hours ago on HBO. After a furious search of the internets, there really isn't much out there just yet. However, Roger Catlin had a few words to say about the show. As he describes tonight's show in short detail, you can see that he is a little bit bored before the 'New Rules' comes on.
From his blog on the Hartford Courant:
He had plenty of guests to get to. John Edwards gave his platform via satellite from Las Vegas, and John Amaechi, the former NBA player who came out as gay, via satellite from New York toward the end of the broadcast.
His initial panel was a bit of a bore, with token Republican Michael Steele of GO-Pac, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina (flogging a book), and the host from “The Late Late Show,” Craig Ferguson, playing it mostly seriously.
There was still his “New Rules” to get to though, and that’s always worth hanging out for. It began this time with the recent news about the Rev. Ted Haggard, who lost his job for patronizing a gay prostitute announcing he was 100 percent straight.
"You can’t make a gay man 100 percent straight in a month, especially if that month contains fashion week," Maher said. "A month to change your sexuality? I’ve spent longer than that on hold trying to quit AOL!”
Other late night comics make easy political jokes; what sets Maher apart is the fire that ignites his show-closing rants, this one out dismissing worthy candidates based on single gaffes, citing Howard Dean's "Yee Haw" and Joe Biden's recent pick of poor words to describe Barack Obama.
Here's the text of the New Rules from Huffington Post, read more from the link and stay tuned for the video clips!
Friday, February 16, 2007
This afternoon the House of Representative passed their non-binding resolution condemning the actions of the President in Iraq and specifically against the escalation of the unwinnable conflict. Members gave dozens of speeches for and against. Some spoke forcefully, some talked about their 6yr olds and others slandered Abe Lincoln.
At the end of the day the vote was 246 to 187, with 17 Republicans throwing their party allegiance to the wayside and standing up for what is right. Some Republicans claim the bill has no teeth while fighting against it tooth and nail. The reason for that is because the bark of the bill foretells the bite to come.
From the SF Chronicle:
The House sent President Bush a double-barreled confrontational message today, telling him it opposes his latest buildup of troops in Iraq and in the next few weeks will try to start curtailing military operations in the war zone.
The Democratic-led House approved 246 to 182 a nonbinding resolution expressing the support of Congress for the U.S. troops serving in Iraq while opposing Bush's plan to send 21,500 more combat troops into the war.
We will have to wait for what these curtailments involve in the matter of actual policy and abatement of the President's actions. Ultimately they need to cut the funding of the monstrous and corrupt war machine that is overseen by Republicans, military contractors like Halliburton and the defense industry as a whole that have wasted billions of dollars in the name of greed.
The media has gotten absolutely nuts over Obama. I just checked the first page of google news with 'obama' as a tag and found 1,052 articles....just the first page! So this post adds another number to who knows how many posts are on the blog search. No one can stop talking about him. Rollingstone just did a giant in-depth review of the Senator. John Howard, the PM of Australia recently felt the need to slander him with the Osama bullshit and the right-wing echo chamber in general is trying every little trick in their book of evil spells to knock him from his high horse.
So with all the media shooting off their mouths, who is the real Obama and what does he stand for?If I had to sum it up at this moment, his book 'Audacity of Hope' is the first to come to mind. There is a lot to hope for when you see Barack Obama, though the question is: What will come of that hope? I got a good look from the Rollingstone piece linked above and I hope to hear more in the time to come.
To further his argument that we must stay in this illegitimate war, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) slandered our 16th President on the floor of the House yesterday. This speech is a sham:
To set the record straight, here is what Lincoln actually said regarding the U.S. war with Mexico in 1848. It is a disgrace to argue for this immoral war, it is even worse to mangle the words of one of our greatest Presidents.
With Wednesday's snow and ice storm blanketing the city with a few inches of the cold stuff, many cars were stuck in their spots after the plows created 1-2 foot snow banks. Unless you had four wheel drive, there was no way to get out without being pulled out. Those wonderful ticketing traffic cops scoured the city and issued over 4,000 citations. So what did the mayor say?
They’re going to enjoy it [Friday] when the streets are cleaner than they would have otherwise been. And this was not a lot of snow. It was easy to move your car. I don’t like to get up early in the morning and have to do anything, either. I’d like to sleep in, too. But it was the right thing to do…. It wasn’t like you had a couple of feet of snow, where you really couldn’t physically move your car. You had to put on galoshes and go out there and move it.
Those remarks, from someone who doesn't have to drive himself to work pissed off quite a few drivers. The anger got so loud that it hit all the major papers, forcing Bloomberg to recant his words and negate the thousands of tickets issued so far and those that are yet to be given out.
From his weekly WABC-AM address:
I’m sorry for the inconvenience to people, but you know you have to make decisions and each of these storms is different… If you received a ticket yesterday or today, you don’t have to respond to it.
Smart move on the backtrack Bloomie, maybe next time if you think about people's situations other than yourself you can respond better to future incidents.
Tim Ryan(D-OH) got up in the House of Representatives yesterday and laid out a blistering attack on the supporters of this war and specifically those that support the escalation in Iraq as President Bush is determined to see it happen.
From The Gavel:
After he was done the Republicans got up to complain about hearing the truth put so bluntly, so Ryan came back and said this:
I just want to, Mr. Speaker, it is entirely possible and welcome under the Constitution of the United States, to have disagreements about how we need to handle troop deployments, how we need to handle our situation in different wars, and it's not to be said that because one Party or one group of people have a different philosophy and a different strategy, [From this point on, his statement was shouted] that somehow they're not supporting the troops! Now your Party and your President, the Republican Party, Mr. Speaker, and the Republican President, are the ones who sent our kids to battle without armor. Without body armor. And it took Jack Murtha months to uncover it and then to finally get it paid for and distributed. It was the Republican Party, Mr. Speaker, who sent kids into battle without up-armored Humvees. Now, nobody questioned the Republican Party's patriotism. And nobody asked them if they supported the troops. Again, we called you incompetent, we said you were incapable, we said you were derelict in you duty, we said you should have provided oversight, you didn't, but we never called you unpatriotic. Now enough of the unpatriotic business.
I yield back the balance of my time.
It hasn't even been 48 hours since Al publicly announced his candidacy for Minnesota's Senate seat and the first 'scandal' is upon us. Arianna Huffington wanted to mitigate the damage from an affair the two had about 10 years ago and talked about it on her blog, The Huffington Post.
The evidence is damning to say the least, the two were caught in bed at least twice on national television. So what if the TV audience of 'Politically Incorrect' was there? Norm Coleman and his goon squad will beat Al mercilessly on the head with this one for sure because.....what else does he have against Al? Norm is already running away from his rubber-stamping past and George Bush.
Here's a portion from her post:
You see, back in the mid-90s, Al Franken and I shared a bed. Repeatedly. While we were both married. And, long before Pam and Tommy Lee or Paris Hilton, we always made sure we had a camera to record our liaisons.
Shocking but true. What can I say, we were young, we were passionate, and there was something between us that couldn't be denied. And the fact that it was being recorded for posterity only added to the frisson.
Be sure to watch the videos on Huffington Post at that link. The scenes are absolutely hysterical! When Franken 'caved' on the school vouchers issue I could hardly stop laughing. I wonder if Norm and his gang are taking notes and forming their first hit piece on Franken yet. Seriously, how does the not-funny-at-all Coleman compete against Franken. He is funny, smart, against the war and can easily dance around Norm in a debate with his comedic skills.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
You can chock up another victory for Nancy Pelosi and the increased disemination of information of how our House of Representatives work. As you probably know by now, Speaker Pelosi started a vlog called 'The Gavel' this week in order to allow more people to see how the House the works.
Of course the Republicans like to work undercover as they promote their flawed agenda to help the rich and few at the expense of the many. Naturally they saw 'The Gavel' as an offense to their operations and fought back almost immediately. Republicans issued a press release today that stated Nancy Pelosi violated the copyright law by 'pirating' their coverage of the House. However, the press release was quickly retracted when a C-Span representative came out and said that their coverage was in the public domain and owned by the American people.
The Republican Study Group issued this press release around noon EST today, which has now mysteriously disappeared from their website without mention:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Brad Dayspring (202) 225-3484
February 15, 2007
Speaker Pelosi's New Blog Violates C-SPAN Copyright/Trademark of House Proceedings
Will the Speaker bring the gavel down on "the Gavel Blog?"
As you may have heard, Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a new blog entitled "The Gavel." Though we applaud the Speaker's effort to adapt to new technology, the blog violated copyright and trademark law on the very first day.
Not once, not twice, but 16 times?
As of noon today, the Speaker had posted at least 16 videos that are copyrighted
C-SPAN material from the House floor. The RSC spoke with C-SPAN today, who confirmed that these videos violate C-SPAN copyright/trademark of the House proceedings.
Using C-Span for partisan purposes?
In addition to using pirated material, Speaker Pelosi also has used the pirated C-SPAN footage for partisan purposes. The collection of C-SPAN footage used in her "first official blog" is an example and the other pirated C-SPAN trademarked material shows Democrat after Democrat offering their views of the non-binding Democrat resolution on the reinforcement and realignment of American troops in Iraq.
So, what does Speaker Pelosi believe the role of C-SPAN is?
"One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's first decisions was to deny a request by C-SPAN to be permitted to cover the House floor proceedings with its own cameras. Last month, Pelosi sent a letter to C-SPAN Chairman and CEO Brian Lamb saying she believed "the dignity and decorum" of the House "are best preserved by maintaining the current system of televised proceedings."
(CQ Weekly, January 15, 2007, Page 169)
Is the dignity and decorum of the House preserved by pirating copyrighted C-SPAN material for political purposes?
If not, will the Speaker bring the gavel down on "the Gavel Blog?"
Republican Study Committee
Then C-Span came out and said that the RSC was completely wrong on the matter. Jennifer Moire said that the cameras C-Span uses are owned by Congress, therefore also owned by the American people. After C-Span set the record straight, the RSC quickly scurried away from the matter with this retraction:
Earlier today, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) released a document about the Speaker’s use of copyrighted/trademarked C-SPAN material on a Congressional website. The document was based upon a conversation that RSC staff had with Barry Katz, the Manager of C-SPAN Video Assets (and the employee identified as being directly responsible for answering questions to Congress about the use of C-SPAN material).
Bruce Collins, the Corporate Vice President and General Counsel of C-SPAN, called post release and said that the information provided by the C-SPAN employee to the RSC was incorrect.
Given this contradictory information, the RSC wanted to be the first set the record straight and withdraw the information included in the release.
Another day, another Republican attack dismantled. This one took two hours, now if we can dismantle the war that is about to go on its 5th year, we will make some real progress.
He feels that he is more patriotic and supportive of the troops than his colleagues. No, not just more so than Democrats, but Republicans too. Watch this exchange between Joe and John Warner (R-VA)
Now hear this! The man that brought us 'An Inconvient Truth', fantastic work on climate change that has given him a Nobel Peace prize nomination and countless acts of goodwill is working on his next big project.
After the success of Live 8 for debt relief in Africa, Al Gore is putting to gether a Live 8 concert in July to raise money to fight global warming. The man is simply incredible. Putting politics and possible Presidental aspirations aside, the man is on a higher mission, to save the world from itself.
From the ABCNews:
Recently nominated for a Nobel Prize and waiting to walk the red carpet at the Academy Awards, former Vice President Al Gore will unveil his next big endeavor today from Los Angeles: a single-day series of concerts to put the issue of climate change before a global audience.
Modeled after 2005's Live 8 concerts highlighting African debt relief, the event is scheduled for July 7 with seven concerts on seven continents.
The man is incredible, he just can not be stopped. The concert stages will be huge and filled with big names. He is planning on announcing the effort in Los Angeles along with Sting, Bon Jovi and Pharell Williams. Now if only he would pick up the torch and run for office afterwards....we will just have to wait and see on that I guess.
President Bush seems to think that since he is the 'Decider' he can demand other countries to commit troops to Afghanistan. Sheesh, yeah right! The guy has lost his mind in addition to losing any claim to moral authority. We had Osama on the run back in 2002 and now he is....well who knows where he is. Then Bush took our troops out of there and put them in Iraq, where we have failed miserably.
From Ireland On-line:
US President George Bush today criticised Nato nations that have hesitated to send additional troops to Afghanistan or allow their soldiers already there to fight in the violent south and under other dangerous circumstances.
Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank, he said: “When our commanders on the ground say to our respective countries ’We need additional help,’ our Nato countries must provide it. ”As well, allies must lift restrictions on the forces they do provide so Nato commanders have the flexibility they need to defeat the enemy wherever the enemy may make its stand."
There is no way in hell that anyone is going to listen to this mad man. Many countries have pulled their troops out of Iraq and have no desire to place more of their men and women in harm's way for President Bush's 'war on terror.' It just isn't going to happen, no way, no how.
Al Franken was a star on Saturday Night Live and an icon for the progressive talk radio industry when he signed up for Air America Radio. Throughout, he has been a great source of comedic relief and helping those with comedy in far off lands by joining the USO. Now Al is leaving the Air America network and help his home state of Minnesota by becoming the next Senator from the state with ten thousand lakes.
On this late night extension of Valentine's Day, Crooks and Liars threw up the YouTube of the Beatles: 'In My Life'. So I decided to do the same, its a great song for love, to all those in our lives.
Now that the defense and the prosecution has rested, it is on to closing statements and finally the trial is put into the jury's hands. Here we have the fine bloggers from FDL, Next Hurrah, TalkLeft and DailyKos that have been covering the trial down in D.C.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Sean Hannity is a well known gasbag, full of lies, deceit and betrayal to the constitution itself. He frequently makes outrageous statements and outlandish remarks that can make the most stoic of figures blush. Here is another segment from the delusions of Hannity (with real world facts interjected).
On New Year's Eve, Yale University's famous 'Baker's Dozen' a capella group was tragically beaten by a group of people who shouted 'fags' and 'homos' at them as they committed assualt and it seems a hate crime as well. This happened after they sung the Star Spangled Banner at a private home and were leaving the party at the time.
Sean Hannity heard the patriotic song they were singing and jumped into the deep end.
From WTNH New Haven, CT last month:
The trouble started at midnight after the Baker's Dozen sang the Star Spangled Banner. Witnesses say a few local young men didn't appreciate the attention the Yale students were getting, made fun of their conservative dress and began taunting them and making threats.
Witnesses say Richard Aicardi, 19, and dressed in a Santa hat, was the most aggressive.
"Very, I would say juvenile," Sharyar said. "Taunting to the point where it was just unnecessary."
Aicardi took out his cell phone and called in reinforcements.
"He said I'm 20 deep, my boys are coming," Rapagnani said.
As the Baker's Dozen left the house they were ambushed. Five, six, seven assailants attacking each member. Their injuries ranged from scrapes, black eyes, a badly sprained ankle to concussions.
Hannity invited the man who was injured most severely,Sharyar Aziz onto his show. When Aziz recounted the facts, Hannity went in a different direction. Sean wanted to attack those unpatriotic bastards who obviously did not like to hear our Star Spangled banner. What else it could it be? He was so confident it was an evil liberal Pelosi loving, America-hater, he offered a $10,000 reward on his show to bring the felons to justice.
Newshounds has the transcript:
"Truth be told, I couldn't tell you what was going through their minds, what it was that made them feel, you know, that a call needed to be made," Aziz answered. " ... I couldn't tell you what was the trigger, the initial trigger, what it was ..."
When it became clear that Aziz was struggling, Hannity spoke up to compliment him. Then the FOX News pundit surprised everyone when he said "And you know, I want to get these people that did this to you, and I hope - working with your attorney and the detectives out there that we're able to find them. I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to offer a $10,000 reward for anybody that will come and testify that as a witness to this, to help get these people - you know, America is still a country where you can sing the national anthem and not be attacked viciously like this, and cruelly like this."
Hannity seems intent on catching these criminals, oddly leaving out the fact that some of the assailants were already known AND that the police did not charge them, only detaining four of the perps momentarily.
As WTNH mentioned:
San Francisco police spokesman Neville Gittens defends the handling of the case. "What you want to do is you want to have a complete, thorough investigation. The officers responded, the fight was abated, and now an investigation is on-going."
San Francisco police say their investigation continues. They are identifying and interviewing victims, suspects and witnesses, and will present their case to the district attorney's office.
The first thing that comes to my mind is why would the police just let them go like that and why does Hannity try and go after the 'alleged' criminals with the charge that they hate the Star Spangled Banner?
Here is where this gets interesting, it turns out the criminals have fled the country. No, not out of fear of prosecution, but for serving their country. Yeah, thats right, they were U.S. Marines on shore leave.
From the SF Gate yesterday:
(02-13) 17:33 PST -- As many as three U.S. Marines were involved in the alleged New Year's attack on the Baker's Dozen singing group, an attorney for two singers is claiming in a letter that asks for the head of the Marine Corps' help in the investigation.
In a Feb. 9 letter to Lt. General Robert R. Blackman, Jr., the head of the corps, attorney James Hammer named only one of the Marines allegedly involved, saying that he "was one of the men at the center of the attacks and we believe (he) personally participated in the brutal attack on both students.''
The article describes in detail how the Aziz family has had to pay for Sharyar's medical bills while the prosecuters and police department have seem to have dragged their feet in the matter. Doctors that treated Aziz saw that his broken jaw was attributed to a seasoned fighter. In fact, that fighter took pictures of his wounded knuckles on his cellphone, then tried to erase his tracks.
So for now the Marines have gotten away and Hannity....well, it seems that the $10,000 dollar award will vanish into thin air, unless of course he wants to send it to the Marines to get them to come back from their tour of duty in Japan.
(h/t to First-Draft)
Ah, it is Valentine's Day yet again. The day of chocolates, flowers, candles and romantic gestures galore. What most people do not talk about is what happens late at night, where the real fun begins. Here in New York City safe sex is important (as it is everywhere) and there are people out there to prove it.
From the Gothamist:
Proving that sleet cannot stop the Health Department volunteers, WCBS 880 has video of the NYC Condom being distributed at a Columbus Circle subway exit. Check out the "NYC Condom" jacket the volunteer is wearing! It's hilarious to see people eagerly stick their hands out because who doesn't want something that's free? We even think someone asked for two.Here's what the NYC Condom's packaging looks like. And proving you're never too old to learn about safe sex, there's an article in the Times about teaching sex education to seniors; at the start of an information session, none of them knew how to put on a condom but by the end, they were all eager to get their goodie bags full of condoms.
Seriously, who can resist free rubbers? It's going to be a busy night and it should be done smartly. Congrats to the NYC Condom patrol for braving the weather and making everyone's night a little safer.
With the coming of the Chinese New Year, Stephen dedicated his show to our relations with China. The whole show was hysterical, but the word was a great primer in U.S.-China relations. We truly are frenemies in every sense of the 'Word'.
One of my favorite CEO's and Democratic contributor, Jim Sinegal founded Costco and continues to run a progressively minded company. With the recent passage of the minimum wage increase in Congress, many people in the corporate world have come out against it, spreading the illogical fear that it will hurt the economy despite reports that show it helps.
He recently sat down with the Washington Post to discuss the issue:
Jim Sinegal, a maverick entrepreneur who founded Costco in 1983 and has resisted Wall Street pressure to cut wages and benefits for his 130,000 employees, said he signed onto the effort because he thinks a higher minimum wage would be good for the nation's economy as well as its workers.
"The more people make, the better lives they're going to have and the better consumers they're going to be," Sinegal said in an interview. "It's going to provide better jobs and better wages."
It really is that simple, the more you pay people the more they will spend. That applies to people who make the minimum wage even more because it is them who have trouble buying essential goods and services that they need so desperately.
Big business as a whole will continually try to say that employers are forced to cut jobs due to rising minimum wages. The truth of the matter is that employers can cut jobs whenever they damned well feel like it. This is just another excuse to keep profits and salaries high at the top, and low at the bottom.
dictator leader gave a press conference this morning and he did not fail to entertain. Far from being a real leader, Bush is trapped behind his advisors that show him the world through kaliedoscopes and by being inside the beautful White House that is smack-dab in the middle of Washington.
From Huffington Post:
Check out their video of it as well via CNN. It is clear to see that this man has no grip on reality, in Iraq or here at home. The 'beautiful' comment is reminiscent of his mother's 'beautiful mind' statement when asked if she followed the news sometime back. Apparently they believe the beauty they are surrounded in is an excuse to deny the horrors that the family has caused in the past and what Boy George is wreaking havoc with now.
During today's White House press conference, President Bush was asked by ABC's Martha Raddatz if he thought Iraq was embroiled in civil war.
The President responded by saying "I can only tell you what people on the ground whose, judgment...It's hard for me living in this beautiful White House to give you an assessment, first hand assessment. I haven't been there. You have, I haven't. But I do talk to people who are and people's whose judgment I trust and they would not qualify it as that. There are others who think it is."
You may remember this guy complaining about the five day work week last month when the Democrats regained power in the House. Now he is at it again, defending the President's course and how he believes escalating our presence in the increasingly chaotic region is a change in policy.
Corruption and the benefits of being in the 'club' have been mainstays for the state government of New York. Selecting Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli to comptroller would have hardly batted an eye in the past. However, it seems that the times, they are a changing.
First Eliot 'Steamroller' Spitzer came out and attacked lawmakers for appointing the unqualified DiNapoli to the position to state comptroller last week. The harsh reaction from the Governor prompted the NY media to cover the criticism. Now it seems the public is taking noticing and letting their Assemblymen know how they feel.
From the New York Times:
ALBANY, Feb. 13 — “Are you getting a lot of love mail?” Assemblyman Albert A. Stirpe Jr., a Democrat from North Syracuse, asked a colleague this week as they both got into an elevator here in the Capitol complex.
“Phone calls,” his colleague said. “I’m getting phone calls.”
Mr. Stirpe, a freshman lawmaker, said wryly, “No one’s ever going to vote for me again.”
In the week since state lawmakers rebuffed Gov. Eliot Spitzer and picked a member of the Assembly, Thomas P. DiNapoli, as state comptroller, they have been feeling plenty of heat.
Well it is about time that people let their representatives know that this type of behavior is unacceptable. The reformation up in Albany by Spitzer will not be stopped by those in the legislature that want to keep business as usual. It is good to see citizens respond to their government and hold them accountable.
Trained by the propraganda gurus at FoxNews, Tony Snow could not give a straight answer to reporters when confronted by the facts. The fact in particular was that General Peter Pace contradicted claims made about Iran giving weapons to Shia fighters. Watch as he spins faster and faster!
Although the Supreme Court justice has never been charged with this crime, I still say the apple doesn't fall from the tree. Dear daughter Ann was stopped in the town of Wheaton, Illinois with her three small children in the van with her. Apparently someone at a McDonalds saw what appeared to be a drunken driver and reported it to the authorities.
From The Chicago Tribune:
Ann S. Banaszewski, 45, was stopped about 7:25 p.m. in a 1996 Ford Econoline van near Gamon Road and Longfellow Drive after a citizen reported a possible drunken driver was at the McDonald's restaurant near there, Meloni said.
Three of Banaszewski's "small children" were in the van with her at the time, leading to the child endangerment charge, Meloni said. He would not disclose their ages. Meloni would also not disclose details of her alleged intoxication, but said she submitted to a field sobriety test, though he could not disclose its outcome.
Thomas Meloni, the police chief of Wheaton knew about their 'Supreme Court daughter' resident and frequently patrolled her neighborhood due to her status. The children were dropped off at a family friends' house and she was taken to the local police station and released.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
This time he takes on Ludacris and the Dixie Chicks. If you remember, he once said that their multiple award winning album wouldn't amount to much. Well when Ludacris thanked Bill O'Reilly for his award, Bill decided to analyze the rapper.
More than five years have passed since the gruesome event of 9/11 and the federal government still does not properly fund NYC's soaring health care costs attributed to the workers on the ground. Tens of thousands of rescue and cleanup workers suffered respiratory illnesses, costing the city nearly $400 million dollars in health care for these brave souls. They were told the air was safe to breathe and ultimately ended up sick because of it.
The White House pledged an additional $20 million late last year but it is still far below what is needed to provide adequate care. It is getting so bad that many treatment programs are running out of funds. Other groups never even received a dime.
New York needs 150 million dollars in annual federal funds to treat lingering mental and physical ailments from the September 11 terror attacks, a city-appointed panel said.
The World Trade Center Health Panel, appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in September to assess the state and federal resources for 9/11 victims, said the health programs lack stable federal funding.
The New York Police Department has never received any federal funding for treatment or monitoring, the panel said in a report.
As the mess in the Middle East is costing American taxpayers hundreds of billions and the economy as a whole over one trillion dollars, it is time for the federal government to pay up and fully fund the programs that treat the heroes of 9/11. Mayor Bloomberg recently asked for more federal monies and I wholeheartedly agree with his request.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Majority began a four day debate on the non-binding resolution to come out against the escalation of troops in Iraq. We have the first day over and done with and plenty was accomplished. Congrats to the Democratic Congress and jeers to the Republican trickery we saw on the House floor.
Just after 12:30 today, the Speaker led off the formal debate on a nonbinding concurrent resolution "disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq." The simple two-line resolution expressed support for members of the American armed services, along with disapproval of the president's plan to send approximately 21,500 more soldiers to secure Baghdad.
Pelosi was critical of the president's reasoning in her address opening the debate."The President's plan is based on a judgment that the way out of Iraq lies in sending more troops in," she said. "History has proven just the opposite. Four previous troop escalations have resulted primarily in escalating levels of violence.
Right on Madam Speaker, that is exactly the type of tough talk we need to send to the commander in chief who has misguided us in Iraq for four long years. History is on our side and we need to get it through the thick heads of the remaining Bush sycophants. Especially Congressman Boehner, he is incredibly lost as you can see below:
"Al Qaida and its sympathizers are trying to divide us here at home," he said. "We have the opportunity to show that we will not take the bait."
Boehner further attempted to link the resolution with a cutoff to funding for US soldiers.
"If we cut off our funding for our troops in the field, and abandon Iraq as many supporters of this nonbinding resolution want to," he warned, "the consequences of our failure will be catastrophic."
Boehner is still sticking to tired old talking points that do not fly with the American people and reality in general. However, at the end of the week we, the American people will prevail in this debate and start the war against Bush's crime of knowingly using bad intelligence to draw us into the mess that is Iraq.
I know, I know, everyone is saying McCain is continually falling to pieces. His poll numbers are dropping, he tries to make friends with people who want nothing to do with him (i.e. Dobson), it goes on and on.
Well Mr. Straight Talk Express is trying to dive even faster down the cliff by accepting an 'opportunity' to be the keynote speaker for the Discovery Institute.
The Discovery Institute is well known to fight for 'intelligent design' to be taught in classrooms and to win the debate against evolution and hard science altogether. These creationists follow the bible to the n'th degree and McCain has no problem trying to slither up to them and their votes.
Today is Darwin Day, commemorating the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and of the publishing of On the Origin of Species. The National Academy of Sciences, “the nation’s most prestigious scientific organization,” declares evolution “one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have.” President Bush’s science adviser John Marburger calls it “the cornerstone of modern biology.”
Yet, on February 23, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will be the keynote speaker for the most prominent creationism advocacy group in the country. The Discovery Institute, a religious right think-tank, is well-known for its strong opposition to evolutionary biology and its advocacy for “intelligent design.” The institute’s main financial backer, savings and loan heir Howard Ahmanson, spent 20 years on the board of the Chalcedon Foundation, “a theocratic outfit that advocates the replacement of American civil law with biblical law.”
As ThinkProgress notes, McCain has wavered on the issue, flip-flopping as he has done with other important matters in the past. In 2005 he said he supported many different views to be taught in the classroom but that intelligent design shouldn't be part of science class. Well John, these people you are speaking for want to replace evolution with
McCain certainly is trying to buddy-buddy up with some of the most politically active segment of the religious right. The man just doesn't know where to stop. This Express train keeps on heading for the cliff with no looking back.
Pretty harsh words from terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri yesterday were lobbed at George W. Will we see any response, probably not. The usually calm yet destructive al-Zawahiri lashed out at America via a 40 minute audio tape that bashed Democrats, Republicans and whomever allowed George Bush to wreak chaos in the Middle East.
From The ABC Blotter:
The tape, apparently aimed at an American audience, contains English subtitles and a warning that American civilians are responsible for Bush policies because they "chose Bush twice."
The personal, intemperate attack on Bush was remarkable for the emotion and venom from the usually stoic Zawahiri.
"I don't know his present condition — Americans know best about that, as they are experts in alcohol and addiction to it — but the one who exams his personality finds that he is addicted to two other faults, lying and gambling," Zawahiri said. "He has gone down in history as one of its most notorious liars," he added.
Well I am certainly not with this maniac, though his words do have some truth to it. Liar? Check. Gambler (with our young soldiers lives and the economy)? Check. Alcoholic? Ask Laura.
Monday, February 12, 2007
I am really getting sick of hearing about the rampant corruption and incompetence in our government run by the Bush Administration. There have been countless stories of terrible mismanagement and here we have yet another inside the governmental bureaucracy of the FBI.
In August of 2002 a Department of Justice report found hundreds of laptops and weapons either lost or stolen over the course of the prior 28 months. Well in the last three years and eight months they lost an additional 160 laptops and 160 weapons. Some of those laptops had confidential information including details of FBI personnel in counter-terrorism and other divisions.
The 160 missing weapons and 160 laptops disappeared during the 44 months that ended on September 30, 2005. At least 10 laptops contained sensitive or classified information, including one with personal identifying information on FBI personnel.
The FBI could not determine whether an additional 50 missing laptops contained sensitive or classified information. Seven of those were assigned to the counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism divisions, which handle sensitive national security information.
The gross mismanagement and utter carelessness of important documentation must end. It is bad enough that the 2002 report disclosed the loss of several hundred laptops and weapons, the fact that this is still occurring is maddening. Despite the DoJ setting up a system to facilitate the whereabouts of such items, reports were turned in late.
The FBI did an assessment in the case of only a few of the missing laptops to determine the possible damage to its operations and national security, the report said.
It found the bureau did not adequately document its disposal of excess laptops and hard drives to ensure that sensitive or classified information had been erased. The report also found that the FBI failed to consistently ensure departing employees returned weapons and laptops.
Now there is no way to ascertain what information was on those hard drives. The article reports that 10 of the 160 laptops had classified data on them, though there could be an additional 51 systems with sensitive information. The FBI claims 43 of those did not have classified information, but who can really know for sure as their accounting procedures are obviously in the gutter.
We have all heard that stem cells have the enormous potential to save people's lives and help rehabilitate them from a host of diseases. The common thread is that these cells can become anything you want them to be in the human body, even.....breasts?
It was only a matter of time before someone thought of this and to tell you the truth, the practice has its benefits beyond the visually stimulating ones. Plenty of women have their breasts augmented and this potential procedure would make the process much safer.
The technique, pioneered in Japan, results in breasts that look and feel smoother than conventional cosmetic surgery using implants.
Stem cells, which have the potential to change into any cells in the body, are found in embryos, but the most plentiful supply in adults is from body fat. When body fat is transferred to the breasts, the stem cells enable the fat to grow its own blood supply, thus becoming an integral part of the breast rather than a foreign object.
Dozens of women in Japan have received the enlargements during trials. This month, German authorities gave approval to the process. Under EU rules, this means that the procedure is now legal throughout Europe, including Britain.
Who knows how social conservatives will react to this. They already want to preserve their holy bullshit and prevent lives from being saved. Will this latest news push them even further, or will they secretly come to the side of sanity due to the augmented female physique?
Don't let the doublespeak confuse you, there is a bill named S.A.F.E.T.Y. that was introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX). That bill, elongated into Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth Act will infringe on the privacy of everyone and anyone that surfs the net.
From The Seminal:
Under the guise of reducing child pornography, the SAFETY (Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth) Act is currently the gravest threat to digital privacy rights on the Internet. Given the increasing tendency of people, especially young people, to use the Internet as a primary means of communication, this measure would affect nearly all Americans in ways we are only beginning to understand. Also, given the fact that the Act requires all Internet Service Providers to record the web surfing activity of all Internet users, this amounts to the warrantless wiretapping of the entire Internet.....
The original SAFETY Act, introduced in June of 2006 by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), was shot down due to free speech concerns over aspects of the bill other than the ones I’ve focused on here. At the time, the Center for Democracy and Technology wrote that the bill “would undermine First Amendment free speech protections and do nothing to protect children on the Internet.”
This was a well written article and I suggest you head over there and follow the links to help out. Or you could start by calling your own Representative and the press to have this stealthy bill eliminated before it has a chance to come close to a vote.
Hear ye, hear ye, the candidate to beat is Hillary, so says Hillary. Actually Hillary remarked that Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay have said she is the top Democratic dog in 2008. Well isn't that informative, because to believe your political enemies is always the correct strategy in these times.
From The Politico:
It was a roundabout endorsement, to be sure, but Hillary Rodham Clinton Sunday cited none other than White House political adviser Karl Rove to make her case that she is the most electable Democrat in 2008.
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Clinton claimed that she -- and her husband, the former president -- are the Democrats that Rove and other leading Republican handicappers fear most.
"I know what Gingrich tells people privately, I know what DeLay tells people privately, I know what Karl Rove tells people privately," she said. "I'm the one person they are most afraid of. Bill and I have beaten them before, and we will again."
It is so amusing to find these stories where the candidate is completely trapped in a bubble and loves to hear great things about themselves all the time. It is tragic however, when your supposed adversaries are whispering these sweet nothings in your ear and you happily believe every single word. To be fair, if the devil was wearing a red dress I would believe her too...unless she wears Prada, then I run really fast.
When the Dixie Chicks stood for what they believed in a few years back, the country-music community ostracized them. Instead of caving to the musically oriented right-wing, they fought back last year with "Not Ready To Make Nice." The American did not scorn them, much to my delight they were showered with praise and record-breaking sales of their album that continued to fight the President and his policies.
Tonight they were honored with five awards at the Grammys. Those were no small awards either, including album of the year, song of the year and record of the year. Certainly no small feat to say the least. On top of that they sang their signature song to the crowd and the television audience at home. Cheers to you Dixie Chicks! We are not ready to make nice with Bush either!
Check the performance out here at Crooks and Liars.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I was just browsing the New York internets and while scanning the incredible onNYTurf I found an amazing setup, a lot of great stories and this very cool subway map. Google Earth meets the mass transit system of the NYC and the PATH, I am not kidding you. Make sure you scan as far as possible on all sides, it is definitely Steinberg-esque (one of my favorite illustrators of all time) and interactive too! They are trying to do upgrades to the system, so throw them a couple bucks if you can spare.
Well it is all over now. The case is closed and Hevesi can go home. As a convicted felon, Hevesi was sentenced to time served, a $5000 dollar fine and a $50 court cost plus restitution. The video is twenty minutes long, but you can see the judge impose the sentence with 2:30 left on the counter below:
Street prices vary, or so they say. People pay $20, $50 or more for larger quantities. Willie Nelson lamented the current price in the movie 'Half Baked' a few years back. He would be shocked to see what the real cost is though.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, taxpayers were forced to spend $1 billion last year incarcerating and arresting citizens for marijuana offenses. Even without the advertising costs of anti-drug war campaigns with cute messages that have zero effect, the $1 billion dollar mark is impressive all on its own.
According to the new BJS report, "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for drug violations are serving time for marijuana offenses. Combining these percentages with separate U.S. Department of Justice statistics on the total number of state and federal drug prisoners suggests that there are now about 33,655 state inmates and 10,785 federal inmates behind bars for marijuana offenses. The report failed to include estimates on the percentage of inmates incarcerated in county and/or local jails for pot-related offenses.
Multiplying these totals by U.S. DOJ prison expenditure data reveals that taxpayers are spending more than $1 billion annually to imprison pot offenders.
As Alternet noted, that does not include local jail expenditures. The figures also neglect the economic costs of the offenders being incarcerated and not contributing to the economy in their jobs and as consumers. If there are nearly 11,000 federal inmates, the total amount must be far higher. The FBI reports that over 40 percent of drug offenses stem from marijuana, the highest numbers to come out yet. The question that pops into my mind is, don't they have anything better to do with our resources than busting people with grass?
Or so Congressman Dana Rohrabacher suggested the other day. Dana is one of the majority of Republicans who do not believe that global climate change is caused by human activity, despite tremendous evidence that it is indeed the case.
The video on ThinkProgress of the event is amusing to say the least. Rohrabacher cites his fact-checking skills as a former journalist who doesn't automatically believe a story even if the vast majority of people say that it is the truth. Well bravo Dana, bravo! Then he suggested that Dinosaur flatulence might have caused temperatures to rise in the past somewhat comically. I can hear you laughing now, though hopefully it is laughing at him for being a tool of the right and not because his joke was funny.
Presumably, Rohrabacher was referencing a period known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Then, as in now, “sharp rises in temperature were initiated and driven by large spikes in greenhouse gases. … It took over 100K years for the ocean, atmosphere, and temperatures to return to their previous state. The result was a mass extinction event that took millions of years to recover from.” But scientists believe that massive methane releases from the ocean floors — not dinosaur farts — were the cause.
In sharp contrast to Rohrabacher, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delivered an opening statement recommending mandatory caps on global warming pollution and calling out conservatives for rejecting science. “For twelve years, the leadership in the House of Representatives stifled all discussion and debate of global warming. That long rejection of reality is over, to the relief of Members on both sides of the aisle.”
Thank our lucky stars that morons like Rohrabacher take a back seat in the House along with the rest of Republican congressional delegation. Their tired old views and rejections of reality deserve to be put in the back as the Democratic majority conducts the American people's business in this new 110th Congress.
If you have ever set foot inside a market in New York City, you most likely have run into a friendly man or woman that bags the groceries. These people work hard for a living just like the rest of us in whatever trade we have become aligned. Some choose this job out of necessity, being run out of a different profession or because they have done it all their lives. Regardless, it is a small but integral part of our community at work. The only difference is how they get paid.
Most grocers argue that these workers are mere volunteers and only deserve the tips that are given by customers. Tips can add up to $10, 20, even $30 a day, though it is a paycheck that is far below the $6.75 minimum wage here in New York City. In the past there have been lawsuits to garner a fair wage, but the persistence of old ways and grocery store owners (from little stores to large chains) have kept the baggers from earning the minimum wage.
From the NY Times:
Luz Ordoñez, an immigrant from Ecuador, is one of seven baggers who sued the Food Bazaar at 21 Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, accusing the owner, the Bogopa Service Corporation, of not paying her any wages for three years.
“Our pay was the tips,” she said. “They’d say, ‘We don’t pay you guys.’ ”
Ms. Ordoñez, who joined a picket in front of the store yesterday, said she typically received $25 in tips during her eight-hour shifts. Many days, she said, the baggers were not given any breaks.
Store owners call them volunteers. Volunteers can take breaks anytime they want to, being subjected to long, never-ending hours is far from voluntary. It should be criminal to not pay these hard working men and women a decent wage. It seems that to certain grocery store owners overhead is more important than quality of life for people that keep their businesses humming.
Fortunately for New York, there is a new 'sheriff' in town (actually up in Albany) and he is going to take action. Patricia Smith, Spitzer's labor commissioner nominee and his labor bureau director in the Attorney General's office at the time had thought she solved the problem when a $3 million dollar suit was settled for deliverymen that worked for Gristedes and Food Emporium.
The AG's labor bureau still agrees with the baggers:
Jennifer Brand, a lawyer in the attorney general’s labor bureau, said the baggers were employees, not volunteers. She said they typically work under management’s control and are assigned specific shifts.
“Even if you took the position that these people just came in and were just permitted to be there, instead of being actively hired, they would still be considered employees under the minimum wage law and would not be permitted to volunteer only for tips,” she said.
It is amazing how stubborn the owners of grocery stores are in keeping some of their employees from earning a fair wage despite the increasing public outcry. Well the baggers are not waiting for anyone. They are taking to the streets to have their voices heard and win the right to be paid just like any other employee. Make The Road By Walking has been organizing protests and currently against the Bushwick Associated Supermarket. If you live in Brooklyn and shop at that store, make sure you think twice before entering. With enough hard work and determination, these boycotts and protests will succeed and end this travesty once and for all.
I already posted about this story earlier on Saturday afternoon, but it seems that Olbermann covered this on Friday. Here's the video: