Saturday, April 28, 2007

O'Reilly Goes After Media Matters For Their Accuracy

The Falafel man continues to amuse us fact-checkers here on the left with his lunacy. Lately he has set his sight on Media Matters which has been keeping tabs of his atrocious behavior. Apparently Bill O doesn't like hearing himself and his vicious, hate-filled rants. A reporter recently interviewed him and used material from MM about O'Reilly. When Bill confronted the reporter that the information came from the 'biased' MM he threw a temper tantrum, claiming that the stuff was untrue.

Unfortunately for him, that Media Matters piece had the audio clip attached where you can hear O'Reilly talking trash about Iraqi citizens. He said that he has no respect for them and that they were 'prehistoric.' The guy does not care for anyone besides himself and his big fat mouth. As long as he is raking in millions by spewing hate and fear, it doesn't bother him in the slightest.

Rush The Racist

If Imus had to go over his "nappy headed ho's" comment, what the hell is Rush still doing on the air after producing this garbage. This goes way beyond Don Imus. Not only does Rush use racist stereotypes on Barack Obama, he goes after Al Sharpton as well. Limbaugh parodied "Puff the Magic Dragon," calling his song "Barack The Magic Negro." This shit is appalling, get that druggie off the air now!

About Those Successes In Iraq...

The President and his dwindling pack of followers have touted the recent surge as curbing sectarian violence in Baghdad. When you don't count certain statistics like car bombings, it does indeed lower the death count. What Bush has remained consistent on is highlighting the rebuilding process that the military has spent billions on so Iraqis like us and all that jazz. Why anyone believed on him on this, I have no freaking idea. Now we have proof that he lied about the projects, just like he lies about everything else.

From The New York Times:

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.

Perhaps these seven dilapidated projects were a statistical fluke, if the Bush Administration responds to this story that will probably be their excuse. When you are as delusional as the neo-cons about the situation in Iraq (among other things), you will believe anything to keep the grand lie going. Or maybe these seven projects are just little things like playgrounds and walls that separate the Shias from the Sunnis? Guess again, that wall is going up strong. Here is one of the seven:

At the maternity hospital, a rehabilitation project in the northern city of Erbil, an expensive incinerator for medical waste was padlocked — Iraqis at the hospital could not find the key when inspectors asked to see the equipment — and partly as a result, medical waste including syringes, used bandages and empty drug vials were clogging the sewage system and probably contaminating the water system.

Yeah, that's no big deal. The funny thing is, it isn't because of sabotage that these projects aren't up and running. The problem is poor construction, poor maintenance and non-existent training for all of the new and expensive equipment. Unfortunately the military leaders overseeing all of this say they don't want to micromanage in Iraqi's affairs. So ultimately, millions of our taxpayer dollars are lost, all for nothing, including any increase in the quality of life for the people we 'liberated.'

Republicans Resort To Cannibalism

While the gloves were mainly kept on for the first Democratic debate (excluding Mike Gravel) the Republicans haven't even had their first debate and the gloves are long gone. The on-message GOP has crumbled and left in its wake is a party ripping at each other. Each candidate is trying to be the 'true' conservative while the others are just playing politics. The reality is that they are all playing politics and any casual observer can see that. While Kerry was called a flip-flopper over nothing, these guys are skilled in the art of switching sides for an issue whenever it befits them.

From CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- When it comes to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment -- "Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans" -- GOP presidential candidates seem to be losing their religion.

Republican candidates have been speaking a lot of ill -- sometimes quite directly.

"Governor [Mitt] Romney, his views ... have been moderate to liberal in [the] North, in the Northeast, and it's all on videotape," former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore said on "The Situation Room" recently. "And now he's trying to shift to be a conservative."

At a Republican dinner in Iowa this month, Gilmore took on his party's front-runners collectively, saying, "Rudy McRomney is not a conservative."

The former Massachusetts governor's response? He said his rivals -- Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- have changed their minds on issues, too.

Well if one guy has no principles, then it is fair to not have principles as well? That top notch reasoning is resulting in the fact that despite there being a top-tier of GOP candidates, no one on the right is screaming and cheering behind either of them. The problem is that these are guys have been so addicted to winning at all costs in the last few years.

That addiction has negated any conservative principles they might have had. Now I don't agree with those principles, but it would be nice if they stuck to them so we could have an honest debate in this country. The nation has grown tired of their culture of corruption and the merciless desire to please the rich and their corporate masters. So many Republicans have come out of the woodwork to float a possible candidacy but none have had any success. Fred Thompson? Newt Gingrich? Who's next, wingnut radio host Michael Savage?

The reality is there is no one on the conservative side of the debate because none of them have any real principles. Besides, even if there was a viable candidate, would America want a system that rewards the rich and screws the poor? People may have liked Reagan's persona, but the truth is, his system failed. Conservatism as we know it has led to the downfall of our country and we need a new, progressive way at this critical time.

Sacrificing Illegal Immigrants

Another one of Colbert's brilliant ideas:

Renzi Forgot To Mention A $200,000 Payment, Whoops!

Congressman Rick Renzi, who is under investigation for a shady land deal, tried to pull a fast one on prosecutors who are going over his history in the last few years. Renzi claims that the $200,000 he forgot to declare for the House Ethics Committee was a payment for an old debt that James Sandlin owed him previously. The problem is, the evidence is pointing to the money as a gift for an illegal land deal that Renzi made with a company called the Petrified Forest Group.

This story stinks like a pile of manure, which is exactly what Rick might find himself in soon enough. The real story looks a lot different than what he claims. A piece of land Sandlin owned hundreds of miles away from Renzi's old property was sold for $3 million more than he purchased it for a couple years prior. Renzi's big problem is that he was the one that helped facilitate the deal. Added on to that, the fact that Renzi failed to disclose the money shows an intent to conceal and that can lead to some serious justice for the Congressman. He may have voluntarily given up his committee assignment, but he still has a long way to fall before this is all over.

"Faithful" Tobias Resigns Amidst Sex Scandal

There are two great things about Friday nights. One is that it is the end of the week and time to relax, party, whatever. The second is the Friday news dump. On the so-called slow news day, the government tends to release their big bombshells and today they did not disappoint us. Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias resigned his post after the D.C. madam outed him as being one of her clients. Get ready for a heavy dose of hypocrisy folks.

From The Blotter:

On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage." Tobias, who is married, said there had been "no sex," and that recently he had been using another service "with Central Americans" to provide massages.


Palfrey maintains she ran a sexual fantasy business that was legal and that if any of the women who were working for her had sex, they did so in violation of her rules and without her knowledge. She says there are a number of other prominent Washington, D.C. men who will be on her witness list. "I'll bring every last one of them in if necessary," Palfrey said.

As the Bush administration's so-called "AIDS czar," Tobias was criticized for emphasizing faithfulness and abstinence over condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

I am certainly glad this loon is leaving the government. His policy positions based on faith should be grounds for his dismissal under a sane President. Of course, it had to ultimately come down to sex to get rid of him. Now as a private citizen he can go and testify at Jeane Palfrey's trial and help her case if she is indeed innocent of the charges brought against her. My gut says that if the feds are involved, then her prosecution might have to deal with the power she holds over the D.C. elite. If that is true, then good for her to release these bastards names. I can't wait to see who is next on the list.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

So Iraq may not be the perfect setting for a Robert Frost poem, but Stephen Colbert does his best to spin the separation walls for the Army as best as he can.

Fox News Is Full Of Blind Hams

Most people can tell when they see a news parody coming a mile away. That isn't the case over that Fox Noise Network. A publication similar to The Onion did a spoof on a minor story up in Maine about a prank pulled on a group of Muslim student and the geniuses at Fox took them seriously. So serious in fact, that the buffoons on Fox and Friends featured it on their broadcast and went so far as to say, "We're not making this up." Not only are they idiots, they are lying idiots.

From ThinkProgress:

The backstory: Last week in the town of Lewiston, Maine, a group of Somalian Muslim middle school students were the subject of a cruel prank when their peers placed a ham steak next to them in order to personally offend the students. School officials filed a report because the students considered the act to be a hate/bias crime.


On Tuesday, Fox & Friends reported these parody quotes and details as actual news. Poking fun at the students, hosts asked whether ham was “a hate crime…or lunch?” and showed screen shots of ham sandwiches, starving Somalians, belching, animal noises, and mock “reenactments” of the incident. Ironically, the hosts assured viewers several times, “We’re not making this up!”

In case you think this a harmless goof by Fox you would be wrong. In response to the show, the school in Maine received a deluge of emails and phone calls berating the principal for being too sensitive. The level of hate seen in Fox viewers knows no bounds. So when Fox screws up like they did this morning, it only furthers the hatred and enables it to be thrown around, carelessly hitting it's victims.

Oregon Governor Living On Food Stamps

Ted Kulongoski isn't a poor man, but he is living on food stamps for a week. In order to see how it feels to be able to only purchase $21 dollars of food for a week. In order to raise awareness for families that do have to live on this meager budget, the Governor is taking a hit in the stomach and of course his coffee budget.

From Yahoo News:

Accompanied by reporters and food stamp recipient Christina Sigman-Davenport, Kulongoski headed straight for a display of organic bananas, only to have Sigman-Davenport steer him toward the cheaper non-organic variety.

The governor pined wistfully for canned Progresso soups, but at $1.53 apiece, they would have blown the budget. He settled instead for three packages of Cup O'Noodles for 33 cents apiece. Kulongoski also gave up his usual Adams natural, no-stir peanut butter for a generic store brand, but drew the line at saving money by buying peanut butter and jelly in the same jar.

"I don't much like the looks of that," said Kulongoski, 66, staring at the concoction.

This is clearly brand new territory for Ted. It is good to see someone who can easily have the high-priced healthy food to see that not everyone can afford a good, balanced diet. Perhaps this can lead to some change in how consumers are given the crap at low prices. Ultimately those bulk deals are making it more expensive and dangerous in the long run when it comes to health care. With the Governor seeing how it is to be poor, there is hope that we can make a difference for those that have to eat on $21 dollars every week.

Wrong Then. Wrong Now

Satan Has Come To Utah

Just as I had stopped applauding the students at BYU for standing up to Dick Cheney, Utah got another demerit in my book. The protests showed me that there was hope all across the country, even in the Beehive state. Leave it to another Utahan to put my views back into place. A GOP delegate in the state recently made the claim that the problem of illegal immigration is not of this world, it is from the underworld.

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

Larsen, who did not return a phone call or an e-mail seeking comment Thursday, is urging the closing of national borders to illegal immigrants to "prevent the destruction of the U.S. by stealth invasion."

"In order for Satan to establish his 'New World Order' and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the Scriptures, he must first
destroy the U.S.," his resolution states. "The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nations the way open warfare does, but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness."

To be fair, most Republicans in the state are trying to distance themselves from Larsen as fast as they can. Yet the party will make a note to discuss his remarks at their annual meeting. Why? I have no idea. I guess if there a few bad apples on the Republican tree, you can definitely find one over in Utah. This Larsen needs to go, if he is a delegate, who supported that candidacy within the party? This hate has to come from somewhere so he cannot be alone in his views.

First "Bombshell" From Tenet's New Book

Anyone who has followed the path America took to occupying Iraq without beating on a war drum could see the obvious. There is no way that Bush, Cheney or whomever within the Bush Administration seriously debated the threat of Saddam Hussein in the global war of terror (oops, should I have said "on" instead). Yet none of us were intimately close to the decision makers like George Tenet was. After being awarded the now-dubious Presidential Medal of Freedom, his explosive new book is going to do something revolutionary, it is going to tell the truth.

From The New York Times:

The 549-page book, “At the Center of the Storm,” is to be published by HarperCollins on Monday. By turns accusatory, defensive, and modestly self-critical, it is the first detailed account by a member of the president’s inner circle of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the decision to invade Iraq and the failure to find the unconventional weapons that were a major justification for the war.

“There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat,” Mr. Tenet writes in a devastating judgment that is likely to be debated for many years. Nor, he adds, “was there ever a significant discussion” about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.

Mr. Tenet admits that he made his famous “slam dunk” remark about the evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But he argues that the quote was taken out of context and that it had little impact on President Bush’s decision to go to war. He also makes clear his bitter view that the administration made him a scapegoat for the Iraq war.

This book will definitely be an interesting read, if you can stomach 549 pages of George Tenet. Nevertheless, the key facts will be disseminated for those of us who are less likely to read the whole thing. Those key facts will turn a scapegoat thrown under the bus to the guy that might just be able to run over the Administration. Having been a member of the 'inner circle,' it might just do us some good.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blue Men To Planet Earth

One Debate Down, Thirty-Nine To Go

So the first one is over and the winner is....who the hell knows. With so many to go, all the candidates are learning how to put on their own show to impress the Democratic primary voters. The 90 minute debate had a lot of questions hoisted onto the eight candidates, primarily focusing on Iraq. A few health care questions and moderator Brian Williams of NBC talked about 'contender' Kucinich's effort to impeach Dick Cheney.

The South Carolina event worked out to be more like a get-to-know-you type of debate, without any hardcore fighting. The only real jabs were thrown by the ones without a chance, like Kucinich and former Senator Mike Gravel. For them all the stops have to be pulled out early to have any chance of getting known. The only problem is that with it being April of 2007, who is really watching this cable news program so early in the campaign season? Political junkies aside, many voters are still burnt out from the last election cycle six months ago.

In a nutshell, the top tier contenders got to flex their muscles and prepare for the debates people will actually watch when it gets closer to primary season at the end of the year. I of course will be watching each one, but I hardly fit the norm when it comes to political appetites.

Bloomberg Wants Gore To Run?

Can the man with his own purported Presidential ambitions turn around and embrace a Democrat for the Presidency instead? Even if it is Al Gore? Believe it or not, Bloomberg wants Gore to run for President, joining the multitudes on the left that want to see the environmental guru in the race.

The two got together yesterday for the opening festivities of the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York. Although they each have a D and a R before their names, the two looked and sounded more like brothers united for a common cause. What happened following the warm and fuzzy feelings went more into hard political territory, nearly eliciting an endorsement from the Mayor.

From The Empire Zone:

Speaking with reporters afterward, Mr. Bloomberg spoke warmly about the former Vice President in a tone that seemed close to an endorsement.

“Al Gore has gone on to devoting his life to public service,” the mayor said. “He could be a model for all of us.”

Mr. Bloomberg continued: “People talk about Al Gore being a presidential candidate a lot more serious than they joke about me. This guy could be a presidential candidate. He certainly has experience. I’ve always been in favor of the public having more choice. I hope Al Gore enters the race; I think it would be good for the country.”

Round 1 For The Dems Tonight

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, get ready for the first rumble between the Democratic candidates tonight. They are all preparing for the challenge, on the long road to the White House and the first debate will be important to come out looking good and strong to the party faithful.

Of course all eyes will be on Hillary, Obama and Edwards, but the other guys aren't small potatoes. Richardson has an impressive foreign policy record under his belt. There are three (former/current) Senators in the crowd, Biden, Dodd and Mike Gravel. Last but not least, we also have Dennis Kucinich, you know that guy from Ohio who happens to have an impeachment proceeding getting under way for VP Dick Cheney.

The big question tonight is who is going to come out on top. Although many of them will essentially agree on a host of issues, each one will try to stand out amongst their fellows, vying for respectability, higher poll numbers and of course eventual voters. Hillary starts out on top with Obama right behind her in the national polls. Edwards is a few points distant of them. The rest are still in the figurative dust. The debate takes place in the crucial southern state of South Carolina. Expectations are high for the top tier, but only a real live encounter will prove who has the stuff tonight.

Olbermann Eviscerates Rudy Guiliani

Guiliani made a few comments this week saying that if the people do not vote for Republicans, our country will be on defense and the war on terror will go on longer. Basically America will be safer with people like Guiliani and Bush. Those two men oversaw a disaster here in New York. The latter ignored the warnings of the impending doom and the former merely stood in the limelight for his own benefit. If Guiliani really cared, he would have had coordinated the radio systems of the NYPD and FDNY, a move that would have saved the lives of hundreds of brave firefighters on that day.

Staying In Iraq Reduces Stress?

I guess there is nothing like a good car bombing or IED attack to calm your frayed nerves these days. When I think of a stress reliever, it's gotta be found in the hellish hole of Iraq. Well, at least according to Gerry Gilmore at the Pentagon. This bastard had the audacity to say that serving a longer tour of duty over there helps families find stability and predictability in their lives. If you don't believe me, just check out the Pentagon's website.

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2007 – Extended overseas deployments affecting soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other locales overseen by U.S. Central Command should help to alleviate the stress on the Army, a senior U.S. officer in Afghanistan told Pentagon reporters today.

“I’m absolutely confident that that’s going to work and that’ll manage the pressure and the stress on the force,” Army Col. Martin Schweitzer, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, said during a satellite-carried news conference.

All active U.S. Army units already operating within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, including Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa, or en route there “will deploy for not more than 15 months and return home for not less than 12 months,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced April 11 at a Pentagon news conference.

This is just a cheap trick to keep our soldiers in Iraq for longer amounts of time with a shaky promise to bring them home for a year at a time. The Pentagon is notorious for lying to our soldiers when it comes to pay, bonuses and the time they need to serve in the increasingly hostile country of Iraq. How one can say that this helps the stability of the families is beyond me. Every day their loved ones are at risk of being shot at or blown up is a terrifying reality, and for some that risk becomes a tragic loss of a husband, father, mother, wife, son or daughter. Instead of deploying them longer, we need to get the hell out.

What About The Cabbies?

Mayor Bloomberg unveiled his environmental strategy with 127 ideas to help the city become greener and more energy efficient. Yet there was one obvious idea that was not included, New York City taxicabs. There are nearly 13,000 of those yellow hunks of steel, rubber and glass zipping through the city and most of them barely get 18 mpg.

Most of the cabs are Crown Vics with crummy mileage ratings, with a few here and there that are slightly more fuel efficient. They traveled a combined 800 million miles last year, so there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to curbing the city's carbon emissions. Some cabbies have complained that the first few hybrid taxis were terrible for the rough and tumble street of Manhattan. Yet when it comes down to it, would you rather keep all the vicious gas guzzlers out there or safer, more efficient hybrids?

In my experience, I would prefer to take the greener route in this case. Not only would hybrids be better for our environment, it might make the streets safer for all of the pedestrians walking around. Being hit by a cab myself last year, the thought of reducing their reckless behavior is a huge plus.

When it comes down to the economics, switching out the fleet is a smart dollars and sense move. On average, a hybrid costs $2,500 more than a current standard Crown Victoria. Yet the savings in gas is about $3,700 dollars. Since all of the cabs out there are generally replaced every three years, we could effect serious change in emissions in a relatively short amount of time. So memo to the Mayor: If you want to start cleaning up the city, why not add taxis to your list of trees, congestion pricing and everything else on there.

George Bush, The Environmentalist

Stephen Colbert shows how our glorious leader is helping to effect real change to combat global warming:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stephanie Miller Fills In For Imus At MSNBC

Whenever a radio personality as big as Imus was drops off the airwaves, there is always a gap to be filled. While MSNBC looks for a permanent replacement for their morning show, a breath of fresh air is going to be on TV Monday through Wednesday of next week. The extremely talented Stephanie Miller from Jones radio will have her syndicated broadcast televised for the cable news network, allowing their audience a taste of what many liberal radio affiliates have been enjoying for quite some time now.

People who listen in on Stephanie are never disappointed. She delivers the news with a sharp wit and a good staff that backs her up as she goes after the villains making headlines. Stephanie isn't shy with her crushes either, which includes MSNBC's own Keith Olbermann. Being so close to Keith for three days must have made her day or even her week.

If you like what see and hear, make sure you let MSNBC know about it. Having her permanently on the network would be a fabulous site to see. Her affiliation list is growing by the month, so if a national audience were to get her on TV the response would be fantastic for her affiliate representatives to get new stations to add.

How To Turn America Fascist In Ten Easy Steps

Sure, we may officially live in a democracy right now. Free and fair elections, having checks and balances that work efficiently between the co-equal branches of government, a fourth estate that vigorously investigates the Congress and the President are all things that we hold sacred and that our founding fathers helped create over 200 years ago.

Of course, they really aren't working up to their potential at the moment, President Bush has been viciously attacking these tenets of our government and plans on stopping at nothing to make sure that his will and his will alone is carried out. Well the UK Guardian has studied up on what it takes to turn a country fascist and has come up with examples to following ten steps:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law

That list sounds a lot like what Hitler and Mussolini did, doesn't it. Well in case you haven't been paying attention, it is what the Bush Administration has been up to for several years now. The Guardian provides plenty of examples on how Bush implements his ten steps, but if you read the news objectively, it isn't hard to see with your own eyes. Remember, even Bush said it would be easier if the United States was a dictatorship. So why just talk when you can really turn our democracy on its head?

Iglesias Might Get His Wish, Goodling Gets Immunity

You can see here that one of the victims of U.S. Attorney-gate, David Iglesias discussed that the key to breaking the scandal wide open is to get Monica Goodling to talk. She pleaded the 5th a few weeks ago so she wouldn't expose herself to her actions that violated the law concerning the White House and the Justice Department. What she knows is extremely important.

Now Goodling was given immunity by Congress today. A few Republicans on the House Justice Committee tried to deny the immunity grant, but more than two-thirds of the committee allowed it to pass. With her testimony given under oath, she can finally come clean without fear of being held in contempt by Congress. She does indeed hold the keys to kingdom, and hopefully, to Alberto Gonzales' demise along with anyone in the White House who was connected to the scandal.

Reid Smacks Down Cheney

With the increasing tide of Democratic bravado, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hit Dick Cheney with a knockout blow yesterday, figuratively speaking. There is nothing worse than being belittled by the opposition and give-em-hell Harry exposed Cheney's weak spot. The VP pulled out the the tired talking point that Dems are weak on national security and hate the troops, but Reid was quick with his response.

From The New York Times:

“The president sends out his attack dog often,” said Mr. Reid. “That’s also known as Dick Cheney.”

Defending the legislation up for a vote this week, he said, “We believe the troops should get every penny they need and we have put our money where our mouth is with supplemental appropriations, but we believe there must be a change of direction in the war in Iraq.”

Mr. Reid said he was not going to engage in a tit-for-tat with the vice president. “I’m not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating,” Mr. Reid said.

There ya go Harry! Dick Cheney is nothing but an attack dog, a vicious, seething mutt with nothing but a mean bark. All of his words are meant to keep the Democrats and the public at bay as he gets his war on. Sitting in the comfort of the Naval Observatory while his Halliburton stock options go higher, he does not care about the troops, because if he did, he would have pulled them out and listened to what the Iraq Study Group actually said.

Looking To Mexico To Solve NYC Poverty Problems

You wouldn't think off the bat that problems in Mexico can be solved by similar solutions here in New York. Yet that is exactly what Mayor Bloomberg is trying to do. Mexico instituted a program that pays mothers with children varying amounts depending on a host of factors that revolve around being 'good mothers'. The program has been touted as successful and replicated by other countries and endorsed by the World Bank. But could it work here in the five burroughs?

From The New York Times:

On Monday in Tepoztlán (pronounced teh-pos-LAHN), they watched as about 800 women waited for three hours or more in the auditorium to go up to get their money. If the women and their children have kept all their medical appointments, and if their children have stayed in school, the money is theirs to use as they wish. The awards range from 360 to 3,710 pesos (about $36 to $370), enough to buy food or shoes or other necessities. The size of the award depends on how many children they have and what level of school the children are in.

The program is 10 years old, has a budget of more than $3 billion a year and covers almost a quarter of all Mexicans.

It may seem strange that one of the world’s financial capitals should look to a small mountain town for answers to its own urban ills. But since this program got its start in rural Mexico in 1997, it has been heralded by the World Bank and others as a powerful model for fighting chronic poverty.

Outside evaluations have found that the program, called Oportunidades, has been successful in raising school attendance and nutrition levels. The percentage of Mexicans living in extreme poverty has fallen by 17 percentage points since 1996, when it reached 37 percent.

That sounds great for impoverished countries, but what does that have to do with New York, a city flush with cash but with a few that have next to nothing. Most candidates of the Oportunidades program live on less than $2 a day, even the homeless can get more than that begging on the streets.

Handing out money is a quick fix solution that won't serve a long-term problem. The programs that teach people how to get out of poverty is more in line with what I believe can help. Yet bribing people to attend them is another matter. I am glad that this is working in other countries, but we need something that is more tailored to the problems of impoverished New Yorkers. Perhaps Bloomberg can see something down there that can work but a carbon-copy certainly wouldn't. We already have programs that help the welfare of the poor on a day to day basis, which should be kept running smoothly, efficiently and kept well-funded.

OSHA Doesn't Care About Workers Anymore

The federal agency that was set up to enforce federal workplace safety regulations is now officially a sham. President Bush and his faithful followers have been hard at work dismantling the government and they seem to be succeeding at it all over the place. One example is from a microwave-popcorn plant in Jasper, Missouri. Workers became mysteriously ill and state officials couldn't explain it. So they turned to the feds at OSHA. Unfortunately for the workers, they continued to get sick and nothing was done to save them.

From The New York Times:

That response reflects OSHA’s practices under the Bush administration, which vowed to limit new rules and roll back what it considered cumbersome regulations that imposed unnecessary costs on businesses and consumers. Across Washington, political appointees — often former officials of the industries they now oversee — have eased regulations or weakened enforcement of rules on issues like driving hours for truckers, logging in forests and corporate mergers.

Since George W. Bush became president, OSHA has issued the fewest significant standards in its history, public health experts say. It has imposed only one major safety rule. The only significant health standard it issued was ordered by a federal court.

The agency has killed dozens of existing and proposed regulations and delayed adopting others. For example, OSHA has repeatedly identified silica dust, which can cause lung cancer, and construction site noise as health hazards that warrant new safeguards for nearly three million workers, but it has yet to require them.

OSHA, like so many other safety and regulatory agencies are rapidly falling apart and succumbing to the practice of political patronage. So many people are being brought in for jobs that they have no experience for. It seems that their only pre-requisite is either working for or donating to the Bush/Cheney campaign.

The President Takes On Himself

George Bush of 2003 is far different from today's President:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Guiliani Needs A New Pair Of Glasses

Presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani sidestepped an important question today concerning the decision to escalate U.S. forces George Bush made and implemented two and a half months ago. Amidst the bloodshed and increasing violence in and around Baghdad, Rudy could not tell the truth about the matter. We all know the truth, that the 'surge' is a failure. Bombings have killed scores of civilians in the past week and a large amount of our own soldiers, yet Rudy (and McCain and Romney for that matter) can not stand up to the President and call him on his bullshit.

From the AP:

NASHUA, N.H. — Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday he couldn't evaluate whether President Bush's 10-week-old troop increase in Iraq was working.

"I don't know the answer to that," the former New York City mayor told reporters after speaking with a group of business leaders in the first-in-the-nation primary state.


Giuliani also sidestepped a question about the circumstances in which he would withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.

"The minute you start listing the circumstances under which you're going to pull out you start talking about defeat," Giuliani said. "What we have to achieve in Iraq is a government and a situation that acts as a bulwark against terrorism rather than as an encouragement for them _ and then you've got to figure out the strategies to get you there and make them work."

These statements are old and tired Republican talking points that have no validity to them whatsoever. They need to cut out the machismo crap and realize that our situation in Iraq has no military solution. Of course, they won't do it. Their miserable ideas are so ingrained in them that they will follow the talking points straight off a cliff. What the American people need to do is not to be led by these guys and help correct the situation we now face.

The Tale Of Two Iraqs

There was a huge difference in reporting on the run-up to the war between the Washington Press Corp and the journalists that investigated what was going on in Iraq and in the intelligence community. Bill Moyers interviews those lost reporters who were ignored by the mass media while the D.C. establishment trumpeted Bush's march to Baghdad.

Bloomberg Rebuffed Twice Yesterday

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was feeling pretty good about himself, coming off a tremendous Earth Day event where he announced his plans to make the city greener by 2027. Too bad for him the City Council delivered two veto overrides yesterday, one concerning metal baseball bats and the other which tried to stop tough laws for pedicabs.

The metal baseball ban is just a little ridiculous. To stop high schools from using the aluminum tubes is as crazy as those being talked about by Bush trying to link nuclear weapons with Saddam Hussein. The bat industry has already gotten involved and is helping to prepare a legal challenge to the City Council's decision. Even the Public Schools Athletic League is against the ban. What possessed the council to come up with this waste of legislation is beyond me. There are certain things that our city government need to leave alone and this is one of them.

The other veto override allowed tough legislation to go through for the city's pedicab industry. Now for the first time pedicab drivers will be regulated by NYC, capping their numbers at 325. Pedicabbies showed up at the council meeting yesterday and were extremely animated throughout the proceedings. They cheered for councilmembers who supported the veto and hissed at the majority who voted for the veto override.

I am a little mixed up over these two. First off the baseball bat ban is plain stupid. The council should prioritize their work and not try to stop every perceived danger that baseball players face. If they had their way players would have to walk the bases to avoid running and tripping in the dirt. Pedicabbers however, need some sort of regulation. Perhaps not a cap on their numbers, but insurance should be mandatory just like a cabbie with a Crown Vic.

Rove Watch Begins Yet Again

Last time around we (meaning all people that are not fans of Karl Rove) were all hoping and praying that Fitzgerald would indict Bush's brain for his role in the Valerie Plame affair. Unfortunately Fitz disappointed us and obtained a conviction for Scooter Libby instead. Leave it to Rove to earn himself another investigation from the Office of Special Counsel today for possibly violating the Hatch Act concerning the U.S. Attorney saga.

From The Los Angeles Times:

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

"We will take the evidence where it leads us," Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said in an interview Monday. "We will not leave any stone unturned."

It is amazing to see an arm of the Administration investigating itself and especially it's main architect. If Bloch really does turn over every stone he is going to find a lot of nasty bugs lurking beneath. Those bugs could bite him in a way where he could lose his job, because Bush has shown he will stop at nothing to squash dissent from within his own ranks and ignore the rest that comes from Congress and the American people.

It is extremely important that the facts come out in this case. Violating the Hatch Act goes to the core of effective and responsive government. If you can't trust your civil servants, then the government is not only in the toilet, the lever has been pushed as well.

Leave Me The F*** Alone!!

That is pretty much what Bush is saying these days. He told it to Congress when he stood behind his miserable failure of an Attorney General. The White House Correspondents' Dinner was run by Rich Little, a man that should have shied away from political humor a long, long time ago. Basically Bush just wants to do what he pleases, and if we have a problem with that then thats just too f&^#%#$ bad.

Bush In Harlem Today

Want your chance to protest the President? Well get your you know what up to Lenox and 145th St. in Harlem to let him know how you feel. Bush is in town to talk about his failed "No Child Left Behind" program at a charter school in the neighborhood. The Harlem Village Academy is being spotlighted by the President as an example his education programs are doing their job. Unfortunately when you look at the evidence nation-wide, his mandated tests are limiting students' potential and focus on other subjects besides math and science.

From ABC7:

Mr. Bush will tour the school today, along with Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

Local Congressman Charlie Rangel will be right alongside them. The democratic head of the powerful House of Ways and Means Committee has been highly critical of the president's program.

Rangel says it unfairly burdens school districts with obligations, without supplying the federal money needed to deliver on all those promises.

He also says the democratic congress wants to see that financial imbalance corrected.

Charlie better not give Bush a free pass up in his neighborhood. Harlem hates Bush just as much if not more so than the rest of New York. So be sure to get up there and tell (yell at) him what you think of his education policy, his Iraq policy, his economic policy, you get the picture here. It will be your only chance while he is here, because when he is dining on Park Avenue tonight, the insulation surrounding bubble boy will be super tight.

GOP Congressional Aide To Plead Guilty

The Abramoff files are coming faster and faster to fruition these days. Last week we had two Congressmen have their businesses raided and now an aide to Don Young (R-AK) is pleading guilty to charges of corruption. There seems to be a never-ending supply of these crooked bastards, giving us all plenty to write about when it comes to Republican malfeasance.

From TPM Muckraker:

According to the document, Zachares and Abramoff had what they called their "two year plan": Zacheres would work for Abramoff on the inside, taking advantage of his congressional position to throw business Abramoff's way, and eventually, when Zachares left Congress, Abramoff would reward him. As the information reads: Abramoff "would 'credit' Zachares with the 'business' Zachares... referred or developed for Abramoff's firm, and would ultimately employ Zachares as a lobbyist credited 'with business,' warranting a high annual salary."

In addition to the usual stream of junkets, meals, and sports tickets, Abramoff also funneled $10,000 to Zachares through one of his phony charities. In return, Zachares referred clients and provided a number of favors for Abramoff's various clients.

The document does not implicate Rep. Young, but it does mention that in 2002, Abramoff "assisted Zachares in obtaining his position as a staffer on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee," which Young chaired. And Young has come up often in the course of the Abramoff scandal.

Jack's big mouth in jail is paying great dividends to the justice system. Although there would have been a replacement for the guy in a Republican Congress, I don't know if you could find someone as willing to rat every single rodent out to the authorities. Perhaps it is a change of conscience (gaining one for that matter) or turning back to Orthodox Judaism. Whatever made Jack talk is doing wonders for uncovering what went on on the Hill for all those years. It is good to see another criminal receive his due, I look forward to the next one coming soon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Get Ready To Cringe

Keith Olbermann shows the video from Tipp City, Ohio where Bush made an utter fool of himself. The things that came out of his mouth were classic bushisms to say the least:

Bush Is Getting A Purple Heart...For What???

Forget Bill O'Reilly's most ridiculous item of the day, this story takes the cake for the week. A man in Texas who was awarded a purple heart for his service in Vietnam has decided to give his medal to George Bush. Since the President chickened out of the war like so many others, there is no logic in George receiving any medals whatsoever. Nevertheless, veteran Bill Thomas is set to give one of his three purple hearts to the Decider for withstanding "emotional wounds and scars." Has your jaw dropped yet? Here's the story from Killeen, Texas.

From The Killeen Daily Herald:

COPPERAS COVE – History will be made today when Copperas Cove resident Bill Thomas and his wife, Georgia, present President George W. Bush with a Purple Heart at the Oval Office.

Thomas said he and his wife came up with the unprecedented idea to present the president with the Purple Heart over breakfast one morning a few months ago as they discussed the verbal attacks, both foreign and domestic, the commander in chief has withstood during his time in office.

"We feel like emotional wounds and scars are as hard to carry as physical wounds," Thomas said.

The medal was awarded to Thomas on Dec. 18, 1965, following injuries he sustained while serving in heavy combat with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam.

Thomas was a brave man in Vietnam, but his reasoning for giving the medal to Bush is just absurd. George wants nothing to do with combat unless it involves other people's lives put at risk. It is sad and pathetic to see a war vet who served and sacrificed for his country turn around and blindly bow down to a President that has absolutely no care for the troops.

Katie Couric's Demise

The popular host of NBC's Today Show made the switch to CBS last year for a huge salary and in a more prominent role as anchor for their storied Evening News program. Nowadays her questionable performance has left the network far back in third place behind NBC and ABC. The lack of coverage on important issues and focus on fluff has heads spinning at CBS.

From PopMatters:

Despite her A-list celebrity, her $15 million salary, and a promotional blitz worthy of a Super Bowl, the former star of NBC’s “Today” has failed to move the Nielsen needle on No. 3 “Evening News” since her debut seven months ago.

In a bottom-line business like television, that’s a cardinal sin. Already-low morale in the news division is dropping, says a veteran correspondent there.

“It’s a disaster. Everybody knows it’s not working. CBS may not cut her loose, but I guarantee you, somebody’s thinking about it. We’re all hunkered down, waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

In media everything is hush-hush until the announcement is actually made. CBS can deny all they want, but the facts do not lie. Her abilities as the solo anchor are abysmal to say the least. Inviting Rush Limbaugh on, heartlessly going after Elizabeth Edwards and the recent plagarism scandal has shown that the $15 million a year that CBS is shelling out is a huge waste of money.

Insiders say that she probably won't leave the network, but instead be demoted to another position inside the network. Of course it will play out to look like a smooth transition for Katie. That's just how the network news works. Behind the scenes the executives are sweating bullets, desperately waiting to get her as far away from the anchor desk as possible.

Rosie And Barbara Take On The Partial Birth Abortion Ban

If it wasn't for PoliticsTV I wouldn't have seen this segment of The View (or any other segment from the show) that focused on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Law of 2003. Rosie O'Donnell gets backed by Barbara Walters as they explain why the decision is so terrible for women's rights and the country itself.

Spitzer Puts Gay Marriage On The Table For NY

You would have never seen this under Pataki, but it is long overdue for New York to legalize marriage between two people that just happen to be of the same gender. Massachusetts started the ball rolling and now we are picking up the torch of equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation. I'm sure the conservative anti-gay groups will come out in force against the bill but in these times they will be far out-weighed by civil rights organizations and plain old common sense. Unfortunately, the legislature is still not a friendly place for the bill.

From The New York Times:

Legislation to allow same-sex marriage has never made it to a floor vote in either the Assembly, which has a Democratic majority, or the Republican-controlled State Senate. Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, has declined to take a stand on the issue. Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, has supported legislation to outlaw hate crimes and workplace discrimination against gays, but he remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

Even among lawmakers who say they favor the legislation, there is some division over the best strategy to get it passed. Two legislators from Manhattan, State Senator Thomas K. Duane and Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, both Democrats, have tried for several years to shepherd a gay-marriage bill through the Legislature and are trying again this year. That bill has at least 14 sponsors in the Senate and 42 in the Assembly.

If Mr. Spitzer does propose a bill, it is unclear how much muscle he will be willing — or able — to put behind it. The priorities he has outlined — such as overhauling the state’s campaign finance laws and introducing a constitutional amendment to require nonpartisan legislative redistricting — already pose a considerable challenge. That would leave Mr. Spitzer with little political bandwidth that would allow him to build support for another controversial bill.

Spitzer may be biting off more than he can chew with all the other controversial legislation on the table. Yet it is good to see he is following his principles when it comes to this hot button issue. Even if the bill does not make it into law this session, it puts the question in the minds of New Yorkers that we need to make marriage and its benefits available to anyone that wants to live together for eternity or something like that.

For the state to deny people their rights based on the fear of some heterosexuals is simply ridiculous. We have gotten rid of other hateful policies that have affected people's rights in the past, this one is for the here and now.

VA Tech To Media: Get Out Of Here!

Three cheers for the Student Government at Virginia Tech. They demanded that the news media leave the campus by this morning. In order to get back to school and try to put the tragedy behind them, they told the reporters to get out and give students the respect they deserve. Although the story is extremely newsworthy, the time has come for the cameras to disappear and for the media to move on as well. The tragedy last week was horrific to say the least but to dwell on it and obsess over every little thing that Seung-Hui Cho did is getting ridiculous.

Of course the authorities in Virginia need to finish their investigations. The legislators need to fix gun laws that allowed Cho to commit his crimes. The students need to grieve. The parents need to mourn. The traditional media needs to move on. There is too much news out there that goes unreported. It is typically the big stuff that concerns Congress, the President and of course the war in Iraq. Hundreds of people were killed in the Middle East last week and Bush's latest failed policy needs to be examined by people outside the blogosphere.

Letterman's Top Ten For GWB 43

That damn impersonator failed miserably at the White House Correspondents Dinner, but at least they included a top ten from David Letterman. As usual, Letterman does well, very well in fact. Letterman doesn't have to say his commentary on the President, it is all in the video clips:

Google's Greatest Living American

When you search for that term, who do you think comes up? A President? Doctor? Nobel Laureate? Nah, it is none other than Stephen Colbert. Colbert got up on the top of Google searches by promoting himself to be google-bombed in that fashion, and it worked. Stephen will stop at nothing to have the best ice cream, satirical comedy show and blowing up on Google.

More from

It's official. Stephen Colbert is the Greatest Living American, or at least now ranks tops for that phrase at Google. It's all come from the latest Google bombing campaign sparked off in part by Stephen himself. The backstory on this, plus the "I thought Google bombing didn't work anymore" angle, all below.

Last week at the SES NY conference, I missed getting to see the Colbert Report because, sadly, moderating the Robots.txt Summit meant I wouldn't get there in time. Someone, anyone, score me tickets next time!

Jonah Stein from Alchemist Media DID go and apparently raised the issue of Google-bombing during the audience Q&A with Mr. Colbert (out of respect, I use the Mr. honorific. So say we all). What would Mr. Colbert like to rank for?

Giant Brass Balls.

Well he even got to rank on top for that term as well. Colbert certainly has them. Too bad we couldn't see them on display at this weekend's White House Correspondents Dinner. Instead the Bush impersonator came on and bombed, and not in a good Google way either. Nevertheless, Colbert marches on towards comedic greatness, leaving moronic politicians in his dust and wowing the rest of us.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

NYC Going Green!

Mayor Bloomberg announced his plan to make the city a cleaner, greener place and I must say a lot of it makes sense. The congestion pricing may be a topic up for discussion, but one million new trees is undebatable. The mayor wants to see a 30 percent reduction in New York's carbon output by 2027. Out of the many ideas put forward, adding a tremendous amount of green, leafy goodness within ten years is a smart, relatively low-cost solution that helps cool the city and reduce pollution.

Funding for this program will be around $37 million, up from the current $11 million. The city's goal is to put a tree in every place possible in order to reduce the sun's effect on pavement. Anyone who walks in the city in July and then goes out to the countryside definitely knows the difference that the concrete can make. Covering that up will go a long way to reducing temperatures in the brutal summer months.

The real hot story in all of this is the congestion pricing. Adding another tax to the heavily burdened New Yorker's plate is the main objection, especially since it is easier for the more wealthy businessmen to drive into the city than the guy in his station-wagon. On the flip-side, those funds (estimated to be about $500 million a year) will go to improvements in mass transit. Adding another rail line across the Hudson and improving other structures to increase efficiency is a no-brainer as long as you have the funds.

I don't drive so to me personally, I could care less about paying the fees. For those that would have to however, it may be a slightly draconian measure that would force the not-so-well-off to use more mass-transit. It would be great if the Wall Street elite would leave their limos at the PATH, but that is just wishful thinking. The key is to reduce vehicle trips on the bridges and tunnels so traffic and pollution is cut.

Top Ten Web Videos On The 2008 Race

Straight from the tireless workers at PoliticsTV, we have this melange that was put together from the last week. It is a great way to get a recap on what has happened in the world of politics and current events, including Monday's terrible tragedy:

Sheryl Crow And Laurie David Take On Karl Rove: Live!

Last night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner there was an argument of epic proportions that went on under the radar of the traditional media. Karl Rove was confronted on the Bush Administration's terrible policy on Climate Change (being that there is none). Sheryl Crow and Laurie David tried to have a reasonable debate with Bush's Brain but it quickly went downhill.

From The Huffington Post:

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, "Don't touch me." How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unphased, Sheryl abruptly responded, "You can't speak to us like that, you work for us." Karl then quipped, "I don't work for you, I work for the American people." To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, "We are the American people."

At that point Mr. Rove apparently decided he had had enough. Like a groundhog fearful of his own shadow, he scurried to his table in an attempt to hibernate for another year from his responsibility to address global warming. Drama aside, you would expect as an American citizen to be able to engage in a civil discussion with a public official. Instead, Mr. Rove was dismissive, condescending, and quite frankly a bully.

Ultimately, we were left wondering what on Earth Mr. Rove was talking about when he said "the American people." If more than 60% of American voters, the Supreme Court, over 400 cities, the US National Academy of Sciences, numerous major US corporations, and others don't constitute the American people, then what does? The truth is, if this administration cared one iota about the American people, they would have addressed this problem long ago, and the sad reality is that this problem has been left to us, all of us, since the current administration has abandoned this issue entirely. In the absence of true leadership, we must guide ourselves. We can solve this, but we had better act fast.

That is precisely what Karl Rove is, a bully. Like any typical bully, he hides in his own ignorance and fear. The motivation behind that is unclear, but most likely points to fear of the truth and the possibility of that truth leading to the limitation of the power he now holds in the government. For him to actually converse with representative of the American people would be catastrophic for his narrow-minded approach to dealing with the world. For a self-serving bastard like Karl Rove, it is much easier to scurry away and hide.

How Did You Spend Your Earth Day?

Honestly, I didn't do much 'green' activity. Being in Los Angeles for a friends' wedding, I had to drive around town and pollute the air with a borrowed car. I did manage to breathe the cool, misty air at Dodger Stadium this afternoon, only to be disappointed with a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now to make matters worse I'm getting on an airplane to fly 2800 miles back home to New York.

With all of that anti-Earth activity I would like to defend myself with some advice from the Vernon Morningstar. Meaning that we should treat everyday as Earth Day. Most days I am without the car I sold last year, walking and taking the subway up and down and across New York City. I use energy efficient light bulbs and working on making a compost pile outside my apartment to reduce my trash that goes to the landfills. I may not be NoImpactMan, but I am doing my best as an expatriate Los Angeleno who used to drive thousands of miles a year.

As April 22nd winds down to a close, I hope that everyone will remember that to the Earth, everyday counts when it comes to protecting the environment. I am trying to get into better patterns that reduces my carbon impact on the planet. I humbly suggest that everyone else tries to do the same, since we all reside on this 'living planet.'