Saturday, May 05, 2007

New Yorkers Aren't As Quick As They Think They Are

Growing up in Los Angeles, people always thought it was strange that I walked so fast. Their curiosity was also piqued when I wanted to walk to specific destinations as opposed to driving. Naturally I found it not surprising that I wound up in New York, where everyone else walks quickly. However, I found this recent study that examined the quickest walkers in the world and was definitely disappointed by the results.

From The Empire Zone:

Positing that walking is a physical measure of urban frenzy, a University of Hertfordshire researcher released a study that found that New Yorkers ranked far down on a list of quick-steppers around the world.

In a sample of 32 cities, New York ranked 8th.

Its residents, on average, took 12 seconds to cover 60 feet, or some 3.4 miles per hour. (Michael Johnson’s world record for the 200-meter dash is equivalent to 23 miles per hour.)

But, in what some are taking as a blow to hometown pride, the Hertfordshire study of “the pace of life” found that the residents of Berlin; Curitiba (a city of 3 million in Brazil); Dublin; Guangzhou (formerly Canton, a city of 6 million in China); Madrid; and Copenhagen all out-hustled New York.

I personally don't like this study. Perhaps there are misconceptions out there about certain cities if they are slow or fast, but I know NYC is definitely a quick-footed town. I think the study needs to differentiate between locals and tourists. Myself and many other New Yorkers constantly have to side-step the throngs of visitors strolling along with their subway maps and frequent standstills in order to have their picture taken in front of some famous building. Don't get me wrong, I am fully in favor of letting our guests soak it all in, but if you are going to do a study on this, make sure your subjects look like they are walking somewhere with a purpose.

Nuns Pose Security Threat To Walmart

A feeling of danger usually isn't the first thing that comes to me when I see a group of nuns. If you an evil corporate giant and happen to be called Wal-Mart, well then that is an entirely different matter. The Boerne nuns in the Hill country of Texas having been speaking out and demanding better treatment of Wal-Mart employees for a long time now. Apparently Wal-Mart became afraid of their activities and decided to put surveillance on the sisters.

From The San Antonio Express-News:

Sister Susan Mika is part of the Benedectine Sisters, which is part of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. The center has been questioning Wal-Mart's business practices for years.

"We've been raising questions with them for about 17 years, so it's not like they don't know it," Sister Mika said.

Now, the sisters find themselves on Wal-Mart's security threat list. Sister Mika said the group has been wrongly labeled.

"In no way have we ever been a threat to the company in that sense. We might be a threat in the kind of question that we're asking, but not a security threat," Sister Mika said.

What Wal-Mart is afraid of is a church-related group exposing their many sins against hundreds of thousands of citizens they employ and society as a whole. They are guilty of paying unfair wages, strong-arming suppliers, treating their workers like garbage and now insulting a nice group of nuns. The Sisters' want an apology and they deserve one. After they get around to that they should start apologizing to the whole damn country for what their greed has done.

Debating Immigration

Current TV nails it when bringing up the hotly contested issue of immigration. Lest all those minutemen forget who immigrated here first, they better watch this:


Liberals tend to be a creative bunch, whether it is in the arts, science or coming up with interesting license plates. Heather Moriah chose the latter to express herself and add that personal touch to her Prius that she drives around Rapid City, S.D. She wanted to match her partner's IMPCH-W plates. While she generally got good responses, one person got so offended that they contacted the DMV. Now they are taking away her plates for requesting an 'offensive' license plate.

From The Rapid City Journal:

Division of Motor Vehicles director Deb Hillmer said Thursday that the law clearly gives the state authority to recall the plates and have them forcibly removed if necessary. And although only one person complained about Moriah’s political statement, that’s all it takes to recall a set of vanity plates, Hillmer said.

“I’m following the letter of the law,” she said. “It’s offensive to someone and not in good taste and decency. And the plates are the property of the state of South Dakota.”

State law declares motor vehicle licenses plates to be the property of the state as long as the plates are valid. The law also allows personalized plates with as many as seven letters for an extra $25 fee. But it gives DMV officials the right to refuse to issue “any letter combination which carries connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

Hillmer may be 'following' the law but if there is something on the books that allows one person to complain about a license plate and it is automatically taken away, thats a problem. There should be some sort of review to check if people don't just have an angry neighbor or someone that disagrees with your political views. South Dakota's law is in violation of the First Amendment and should be striken down or revised.

Racism On The Rails In NYC

The legacy of racism runs deep in this country, from its founding until now. Of course it's symptoms have become more subtle nowadays, nevertheless it still exists. Even here in liberal New York City the problem exists and it shows on the trains and buses, at least when it comes to the police force that keeps the peace for the MTA.


The plaintiffs -- current and former detectives, officers and sergeants -- said the MTA permits its supervisors to exercise "unbridled discretion to deny African Americans and Hispanics opportunities for career advancement and equal earning opportunities while allowing for them to create a racially charged and hostile work environment."

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, asked for an order banning the MTA from discriminatory actions along with $8 million in damages.

The lawsuit said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were subjected to blatant racist statements including the use of a racial epithet against blacks.

"The MTA Police Department is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult whereby supervisors disparage the abilities of African-American and Hispanic officers and cause them to feel as though they are continually at risk of disciplinary action," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also accuses supervisors of discriminate treatment for non-whites including intense scrutiny of all their actions as opposed to relaxed supervising of white officers. When confronted about the problem by the officers, the plantiffs allege that the MTA threatened them by withholding promotions, assigning menial tasks and other denigrating activities.

Goin' Down To Baghdad

Antiwar Protest song by the Spicewood Seven of Austin, Texas; Music Video by famed italian post-realist director Antonio Zapanini.

McCain Still Swimming In The Deep End: Panders To Homophobes

John McCain is truly pathetic. As he tries desperately to move back up in the polls, he continues to reach new depths of stupidity, ignorance and playing to wing-nut fears. This time he echoed a right wing talking point that bashes gays that serve in the military. Most members of the armed forces are comfortable serving with men and women with a different sexual orientation, but that doesn't stop McCain and the religious right.

From the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

In an April 16 letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), McCain says the law, passed in 1993, “unambiguously maintains that open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion and discipline.” Senator McCain goes on to incorrectly assert that the U.S. Supreme Court “has ruled that the military may constitutionally discharge a service member for overt homosexual behavior.” […]

“Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America’s Armed Services.”

McCain has his facts all wrong while trying to make the spin sounds just right for his targeted audience. That Supreme Court ruling doesn't exist, no one really cares outside of wingnutopia about gays serving in the military and most importantly, it is hateful policies like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" that hurts our mission and makes the military less capable. Kicking out Arabic translators because of their sexual orientation is mean-spirited and childish, not to mention stupid as we are fighting so much in countries where they speak Arabic. I hope McCain keeps falling in all the polls, along with any Republican that thinks like he does.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The NRA Goes Too Far, And Then Some

The NRA is an interesting organization. It raises tons of money to lobby for gun rights and all things related to the second amendment. The right for people to keep and bear arms is the essential part of the text for them. Organized militias are a thing of the past and are generally frowned upon, except in certain rural areas of the country. The NRA loves to come out and lobby for guns and their owners, particularly at terrible times that relate to murder. The current example would be the massacre at Virginia Tech.

Well a few days ago Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the
"Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2007." This bill gives the Justice Department the authority to restrict gun sales to known terrorists. The Bush Administration and particularly Alberto Gonzales greedily gobbled up the potential power and is backing the bill. The problem for the Administration is that their backers over at the NRA are appalled at losing even a little bit of their gun rights, even for the terrorists that share their love of guns.

Throughout the whole U.S. Attorney scandal, most of these people stayed silent as Gonzales' remained steadfast in his denial that he did anything wrong when he let eight attorneys be fired for political purposes. Now that he is backing S.1237, they are calling for his head. Well at least the gun nuts and the left can agree on the fact that Gonzales should be canned. Too bad for them that our reasoning is on more solid moral ground. Letting terrorists buy guns due to loopholes in the law isn't really the best thing for the security of our nation, something the NRA doesn't seem to care about.

Rachel Maddow's Campaign Asylum

Watch your step as you enter, Rachel talks about Republicans' unholy worship of Ronald Reagan. It's scary stuff:

GOP Hates Senior Citizens And The Troops Too

One reason that Republicans claimed that they did not like the Hate Crimes bill was that senior citizens and members of the Armed Forces were not added to the list. For two days they went on and on about the issue. So what did the Dems do? John Conyers led the way for the bill and responded to the GOP's demands. He said it wasn't a problem. So did the Republicans cheer for the bipartisan compromise?

From AmericaBlog:

The Republicans have been railing for days about how this legislation doesn't cover our Armed Forces and senior citizens, and now that the Dems offer to put our Armed Forces and seniors in this legislation, the Republicans said no and affirmatively stopped the Democrats from doing it anyway.

That means the Republicans had no intent on helping our Armed Forces and seniors, on protecting them. It was just a stunt. The GOP leaders in Congress just got up and used our Armed Forces and seniors as political fodder when they had no intent on actually doing anything to help our Armed Forces and seniors.

Well of course it didn't matter to them. Republicans don't actually care about helping the troops or our seniors. The reality is that to the right, using people for their own ideological ends is standard operating procedure. And sure enough, when the Democrats called them on it, Republicans showed their true colors. The bill passed anyways, with some Republican votes as well, 237 to 180. Yet the President will most likely veto this, as a nice little present to his extreme ideological base.

Evacuating Australia

Climate change is affecting the entire planet, from severe snowstorms in Colorado, the melting Alps and Arctic Sea, excessive heat in Europe this spring and now the massive drought in Australia. The land down under is being hit particularly hard because of the severe lack of water across the continent. In fact, things are getting so bad, that entire towns are now being considered for evacuation.

From The Courier Mail:

TWO towns on Queensland's Darling Downs face evacuation because they have almost run out of water and cannot afford to indefinitely cart supplies.

Senior state bureaucrats have discussed the possibility of moving residents from Leyburn, population 200, and Killarney, home to 1500 people.

One of Leyburn's two bores has run dry and there are fears the other could follow.

It is costing $8000 a week to cart water to Killarney, which is at the source of the Murray Darling river system.

These are just two small towns in the eastern Australian state of course. Yet the drought is affecting the entire country. Imagine what would happen if the situation got so dire that major international cities like Brisbane or Sydney would have to be evacuated. Would you move the population nearby to Eastern Asia? Or to cold and rainy Canada? Things are getting so crazy down there over water that weathermen are turning to the aborigines for predictions and dirty car owners are finding nude car washes.

People, climate change is serious business. This is just one example of the many changes forced upon human life that is the result of human life and waste. We must change our way of life and live more in harmony with the planet. If we don't, there will be bigger evacuations, as the seas rise and swallow islands, eventually many more places will be submerged. Eventually, there will be no place to turn.

George Tenet And Ron Jeremy Have Something In Common

Usually those two names never go in the same sentence but apparently the two know each other quite well. Before Tenet became a tool for the Bush Administration and Ron Jeremy wasn't using his tool as much, the two went to Cardozo High School here in New York City.

Tucker took the time to play this tidbit on his MSNBC show:

Farming In The Middle Of The Hudson...And On Your Roof Too

If you have been by the Hudson River lately, you might have noticed an ecological wonder floating out by the end of W. 44th St. The Science Barge was created by Ted Caplow, an environmental engineer that came into some money from his grandmother. First of all, the 50 foot barge is powered by wind, solar and bio-fuels so there is zero carbon impact. Then there is the hydroponic greenhouse in the middle, where an assortment of plants are grown year-round.

From WNYC:

...This is a hydroponic greenhouse. The crops thrive on rain water, which is collected off the slanted rooftop and re-circulated through a series of pipes. There’s no soil. The plants are kept in pots filled with a crunchy blend of rocks and straw that soaks up the water and passes along the nutrients. These crops are constantly well-fed. When the seedlings sprout this summer, Caplow says lettuce and strawberries will grow in the front of the room.

CAPLOW: And in the back we have the vine crops. So we have tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and they grow in these buckets down on the floor and they’re trained up the strings, and they reach ten feet high. And in fact the tomato plants will keep going until the stems are 30 feet long. But because our greenhouse isn’t 30 feet high we have to lower the bottom part of the stem and wrap it around a pot.

Although the barge is a wonder in of itself, Caplow says that this is just the beginning and a way to show a better future for urban farming. One way we can add to the greening of New York City and other metro areas is to start widespread urban farming. Caplow estimates that there is about 10,000 acres of space in New York that can be farmed on rooftops alone. If it is all done in hydroponic greenhouses, the efficiency of that compared to a regular old farm would increase the output by several times.

I think this is a fantastic idea. I am one of the lucky New Yorkers with some space outside my apartment and I planted tomatoes last summer. It was such a thrill to grow my own produce, even if it was just a few beefsteak tomatoes. Whenever I told or showed friends about my mini-garden, they were amazed one could do such a thing in the middle of Manhattan. For the big picture, if landlords or tenants would start constructing greenhouses all over the city (with some city or corporate assistance) that would mean less trucks coming into the city with produce from upstate, Long Island or New Jersey. When it comes to the protection of our environment, every little thing counts.

Hypocrisy Alert: Bush Chastises Other Countries Media Restrictions

President Bush is out there again, criticizing other countries for doing exactly what he is doing at home. This time it is over the media. He claims it is a terrible thing for nations like China, Egypt, Russia and others to restrict the press, yet he is doing the same thing here and condoning it in Iraq.

From the horse's mouth:

"In undemocratic societies where governments suppress, manipulate, and control access to information, journalists are on the front lines of the people's battle for freedom. The danger journalists face in such repressive States can be great -- and even deadly," he said.

"The United States values freedom of the press as one of the most fundamental political rights and as a necessary component of free societies," he said.

Funny, this democratic society has seen the suppression, manipulation and limited access to information that journalists need to do their jobs here too. Bush and his loyal Administration have been hard at work to control the press (which has controlled itself as well) and get their unfiltered propaganda out to the masses. Bush doesn't care about our freedoms if they get in his quest to win an un-winnable war in Iraq and who knows where the hell else he wants to go (Iran, Syria, etc).

It used to amaze me that he can get up and speak about something to ridicule other countries for limiting freedoms while he is doing the same exact thing here. Now I just want it to be over. I am tired of his hypocritical bullshit and so is most of the rest of the country. We want our democracy back already.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Obama Gets The Nod From Oprah

The queen of daytime talk TV has given out her first ever endorsement for a Presidential candidate, an incredible gift for anyone running in an election almost anywhere. Her connection to a huge demographic of women is a goldmine for a candidate, especially since she has never endorsed anyone for office. So who did it go to, none other than her own junior Senator, Barack Obama.

Oprah really doesn't say why she lent her support to Obama other than that she knows him personally. The first guess that pops into most people's minds is that they are both black. I think that is only part of the picture. Barack has turned into and help make himself the candidate of 'hope.'The charisma in his speeches draws tens of thousands at rallies, more than anyone else out there. Yet, I am still waiting for more substance. He says he has it, but that isn't what you hear in the press. That may be more of a problem due to the media, but Obama has an obligation to get that information out there. Democratic primary voters like to hear what a candidate is going to do as opposed to the empty rhetoric that Republican voters lap up. I'm hoping for a policy wonk, but perhaps a small taste would be nice.

Obama Gets The Secret Service

Rockstar Democratic nominee Barack Obama became the earliest Presidential candidate to receive the top notch security detail care of the federal government. Of course Hillary already has the protection because she is a former First Lady, but this is different. Most candidates get the detail sometime during the election year, like John Kerry and John Edwards in February of 2004. However fellow Illinois Senator Dick Durbin brought the matter to Harry Reid's attention and they agreed Barack needed the additional protection.

From The Chicago Tribune:

Reid brought the concerns to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secret Service and a special congressional committee that reviews the need for special protection.

A congressional aide said that the request for Obama's Secret Service protection was unanimously backed by Republican and Democratic congressional leaders. The aide said Reid made a vigorous argument for the detail when the advisory group met.

"Reid was very adamant," said the aide.

On Thursday, at least four Secret Service agents stood out front of Obama's home, with one of their SUVs blocking entrance to the driveway. Obama attended a private fundraiser in New York.

Hate Crimes Bill Being Fought By Religious Right

One would think that passing legislation that provides equal protection under the law from persecution would be a good thing to everyone. Originally, hate-crime law was introduced to heavily penalize criminals that attacked their victims based on race, ethnicity or religion. Nowadays, one in six hate crimes are against the victim's sexual orientation and there is nothing in the current law to protect them. So Congress has finally brought legislation with a clear shot at passing as opposed to years prior when the Republican leadership would abandon the bill. Why would they do that? Because of their religious wingnut friends.

From The Huffington Post:

Predictably, anti-gay extremist organizations are at it again. Marking a new low in politics, these groups have embraced the work of a known white supremacist filmmaker, callously invoked the Virginia Tech massacre, blatantly lied about the Congressional record and even used the name and image of Jesus Christ in vain -- all in order to block passage of a bill that does nothing but provide equal protection under the law for every American.

In an action alert to members nationwide, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, incredibly used the memory of the Virginia Tech massacre to rally his troops against the hate crimes bill, stating that its passage would provide "a homosexual would have more federal protection under the law than the 32 victims of last week's massacre."

The Traditional Values Coalition created and disseminated a fake transcript of last week's House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Hate Crimes bill to "prove" that the legislation would punish anti-gay thoughts. The falsified transcript doesn't even remotely resemble the official transcript of the proceeding. They even produced a "wanted poster" in which Jesus Christ, wearing a crown of thorns, is wanted for violating the proposed hate crimes bill. The poster states that Christ is "wanted for revealing the truth about homosexuality in 'The Bible' and encouraging his followers not to offend God by committing such behavior." Is abusing the image of Christ in order to divide and discriminate really the Christian way?

And that my friends is the insanity we have to deal with. These creatures of 'morality' are full of anger and hate for another group of god's children. They would rather see people be beaten and killed than love them as another human being. What kind of church would teach that crap?

Scumbags like Tony Perkins and James Dobson are absolutely revolting. For Perkins to use the death of the students at Virginia Tech is beyond belief. These religious wackos will stop at nothing to keep up their followers fear and hatred for the massive amount of humanity out there that does not look, talk or fuck like they do. Of course, I expect this from people like Perkins and Dobson, I did not however from members of the black clergy. How incredibly hypocritical can one be?

Be sure to counter-act these groups and write your Congressman today to have them support H.R. 1592.

We The People Oppose Bush And His War

Thank you John Edwards for this wonderful ad:

Obama Versus MySpace

After crushing all competitors in the online world, Barack Obama has fallen from grace, along with everyone involved in this sordid affair. Basically what happened was that paralegal Joe Anthony started a myspace fan page, garnered 160,000 friends since November 2004 and when he was refused his asking fee of $39,000 plus fees, the Obama campaign turned their back on him. Obama's team went to MySpace and wanted to take over Anthony's site, however they were given the address but not the fan page.

From The Washington Post:

"We wanted to work with Joe. But at the end of the day, this page is bigger than him," said campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "This is uncharted territory for everyone involved, and look, six, five months ago, could we have predicted that a MySpace page would have 160,000 friends?"

Anthony, meanwhile, asked to be compensated for his work, to the tune of $39,000 plus fees.

"It's not really about the money. The past 2 1/2 years that I spent on that page is worth more than $39,000. It's symbolic. It's me saying, 'I won't be bullied around,' " Anthony said.

All of the parties are crying foul here, and frankly none of them look good. Obama online comes out looking mean and nasty, running over the little guy just because he wanted to be compensated for his time. Anthony was tarred and feathered as a greedy volunteer who was only in it for the money, though I frankly don't see it, $39,000 dollars for a list of 160,000 names is a bargain in politics. Then there is MySpace itself, where the future lays for these wars of attrition between candidates' and their friends.

Ten Republican Men, One Stage

The Republicans kick off their debate schedule tonight in California at 8pm EDT. The event is being held in the ever so (in)appropriate Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley. The stage is overflowing with candidates, even more so than for the Democrats.

The lineup includes the frontrunners, McCain, Giuliani and Romney. Then come the second tiers, Sen. Brownback, fmr. Governors Jim Gilmore of VA, Mike Huckabee of AR and Tommy Thompson of WI. The bottom three on the list is comprised of the military contractors' favorite Duncan Hunter, immigration nut Tom Tancredo and finally Ron Paul.

The general consensus for tonight is that no one wants to get roughed up or come out looking bad. That is especially true for the top three. All of them have serious problems with their campaigns as it is and a major hit could be particularly devastating. I'm looking for trouble from the bottom tier, especially from Tom Tancredo. The guy is trying to keep immigrants out of our country made of immigrants at all costs. Any moderate position on that will definitely draw fire from Tom.

I'm not too sure I can watch the whole thing honestly. I am going to try to listen for reasoned, principled ideas....but I feel that those type of things don't exist in the Republican party anymore. Instead, I will expect empty rhetoric, the heavy usage of fear in their responses and of course, bashing Democrats. I'll hang on till I get that nauseating feeling, then shut the thing off.

Mitt Romney: From Mormon To Scientologist

An important question for Romney tonight would be to ask him what his favorite book is and how his friends around the room take that information. We already know that Americans overwhelmingly won't support a Mormon, so this could be his response to get the....Scientology crowd?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

O'Reilly's Bad Mouth

Bill O'Reilly has become one of the most closely watched figures in the right-wing media set lately. The things that come out of his mouth are well documented by sites such as Media Matters and Newshounds. Now Indiana University has published a study that finds the fear-monger says something derogatory every 6.8 seconds in his 'editorial' segment of the show. Damn, 6.8 seconds, thats quicker than I breathe regularly.

From ThinkProgress:

The study documented six months worth, or 115 episodes, of O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” editorials “using propaganda analysis techniques made popular after World War I.” Researchers found that O’Reilly “was prone to inject fear into his commentaries and quick to resort to name-calling. He also frequently assigned roles or attributes — such as ‘villians’ or downright ‘evil’ — to people and groups.

Some findings from the study:

Fear was used in more than half (52.4 percent) of the commentaries, and O’Reilly almost never offered a resolution to the threat. For example, in a commentary on “left-wing” media unfairly criticizing Attorney Gen. Alberto Gonzales for his role in the Abu Ghraib scandal, O’Reilly considered this an example of America “slowly losing freedom and core values,” and added, “So what can be done? Unfortunately, not much.”

– The researchers identified 22 groups of people that O’Reilly referenced in his commentaries, and while all 22 were described by O’Reilly as bad at some point, the people and groups most frequently labeled bad were the political left — Americans as a group and the media (except those media considered by O’Reilly to be on the right).

Surprise, surprise. Mr. No Spin Zone gets caught by another group that is paying attention to his crazy antics. Welcome to the club Indiana University. The reality is that Bill O is nothing but a wingnut gasbag that makes the political right warm and gooey with his hate-filled program. O'Reilly repeatedly says he is an independent when confronted about the facts of his show, pathetically trying to portray a sense of fair and balanced coverage of the news. Of course, that is just a load of shit. We all know it Bill, you might as well just come out and admit it.

Sleeping On The Subways

After the end of a long day, it isn't surprising to see someone that fell asleep on one of the subway lines. The dozers probably missed their stop, but once awake they can turn around at the next stop and go home to their warm comfortable beds. Unfortunately that is not the case for many of New York's homeless.

A recent survey showed that over 1,600 people regularly sleep on the trains, a 30 percent increase from last year. That is a real problem for many different reasons. First off it is a danger for the homeless that are preyed upon by certain criminals. Secondly many of these overnight riders tend to oversleep, leaving a foul stench inside the cars. I can recall at least one time where I got on the subway in the morning, saw a relatively empty car to get into, only to find that the reason no one was in there was because of an over-powering odor coming from a guy sprawled out on a bench.

On the bright side, there was a decline in the total amount the homeless in city. Nevertheless, it is still a problem that must be addressed so that these less fortunate members of society can get the help they need.

Reverend McGreevey???

Governor Jim McGreevey is looking for a new career after resigning as the top dog in New Jersey almost three years ago. With a lifetime of politics under his belt, what could Jim possibly do? Well he could become a minister of course. McGreevey has been reported to enter the seminary this week to become an Episcopal priest.

From WNBC:

Friends of the former governor told NewsChannel 4 that McGreevey has wanted to enter the priesthood since his days in high school, college, and even law school. Now, the friends said, McGreevey has the freedom to do it.

The governor's friends added that once McGreevey finishes the four-year ordination process, he hopes to find a parish -- perhaps in an inner-city neighborhood, where he can help children or the poor.

McGreevey has commented that being a religious leader will not only allow him to help others, but will be good for his soul as well, friends of the former governor said.

McGreevey has already made a big change in his life, so perhaps this is a logical step for the disgraced politician to go from Catholicism to the Episcopalians. He has certainly gone through a lot in the last two years since revealing his big secret to press, the New Jersey state government and of course, his wife.

The McGreevey's were just in the news the other day when his ex-wife, Dina Matos claimed that she had no idea what his true sexual orientation was, even though he said she did. I thought this story was over in 2004, but it seems that the saga continues. Look out for Reverend McGreevey in a parish near you.

This Is One To Watch

The music goes along with images and videos perfectly. It shows exactly what has happened in four years and a day since that "Mission Accomplished" banner hung up on the USS Abraham Lincoln:

Iraq And Baseball: Republicans Treat It Like A Game

Baseball is a wonderful game and a great American pastime. However comparing a Cubs/Cardinals game and the occupation of Iraq is way out of bounds. And that is exactly what Illinois Republican Jeff Shimkus did today on the floor of the House. In doing that he showed his true feelings on the war. That he thinks of Iraq as a game we must win to show our strength and willingness to do whatever it takes, to achieve...whatever he thinks is a vision of victory.

From Crooks and Liars:

Mr. Shimkus: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Imagine my beloved St. Louis Cardinals are playing the much despised Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals are are up by five finishing the top of the ninth. Is this a cause for celebration? Is this a cause for victory? No. Unbelievable as it may seem, the Cubbies score five runs in the bottom of the ninth to throw the game into extra innings. There the score remains until 1:00 a.m., five innings later. However at the top of the 15th the Cardinals fail to field a batter. The entire team has left the stadium.

It seems that they are more worried about next day's 1:00 p.m. game at home than finishing the game at hand. Who wins? We know, it's the team that stays on the field. Arbitrary deadlines and a date certain accept defeat before the conclusion of the contest. It is our national security interest to continue to take the field and support a moderate Arab state. Leaving prior assures a loss for us and victory for our opponents which will lead to another extremist Islamic state.

Shimkus doesn't have a clue. Nor does he have a care about our troops and the deterioration of our country due to the effects of long term war. Much like his glorious leade George Bush, the Congressman does not care about how the American people feel about the war. He does not care about the hundreds of billions of dollars we are losing, nor the thousands of American troops that are senselessly killed half a world away. Statements like these should signal the downfall of these misguided legislators. We already replaced thirty Republicans last year, and I wouldn't mind another thirty next year.

The Veto

Yesterday George Bush carried out his promise to veto a bill that gives the troops all the support they need and bring about a conclusion to our occupation of Iraq. For over four years, Bush has kept our soldiers in harms way for no good reason, and without all of the proper equipment. Now that the Democrats are in charge of Congress, we finally got what the country needs in terms of the war. Full funding for the time being and getting the hell out as soon as possible is what the majority of Americans desire.

Meanwhile the President, or as he now likes to be called, the "commander guy" continues to live in a state of delusion. He does not care about what the people think. He believes what he is doing is right, even if all the facts show he is dead wrong. Well we are not going to take his crap anymore. His 'mandate' is gone, if it ever really existed in the first place. Democrats aren't taking it either. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have vowed to fight back against the President and give the people what they want.

Unfortunately there were not enough votes to override the veto today, but that does not mean the fight is over. The Congress has the right and the duty to give the President another bill that accomplishes what the vetoed one did. We must leave Iraq, it is just and it is right. Bush can veto all he wants, but eventually he must wake up and realize that we live in a democracy and this is what the American people want. It was clearly shown in the November 2006 elections. Republicans were kicked out of office to end the war that they rubber-stamped for several years. Now that time is at an end.

A Conversation With Mike Gravel

In case you missed his rash performance at the Presidential debate or the fiery tirade unleashed on Chris Matthews following it, he did an interview you can find below.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day Protest At Union Square

Before going off to work, I had the honor and time to head over to Union Square for a massive rally in support of workers' rights. I had gone to a similar event in the same spot last year and I wasn't surprised to the massive outpouring of emotion that hundreds of people had to make a better life in this country.

Workers' rights have been under attack for some time now, and especially under the Bush Administration. While other countries take the time to remember what the holiday is about, we have largely forgotten what today is all about. A long time ago, unions had secured the eight-hour workday to replace the terrible conditions that employers made their workers endure.

Well today's laborers are probably affected the worst by deteriorating circumstances and they have many reasons to come out and show their support. Plenty of people got together to show their commitment on this May Day, so here is the evidence of that here in New York City this afternoon:

Don't Get Naked

There aren't any penalties for it inside your own home yet thankfully. Though the price perverts will pay when they expose themselves outside is about to jump substantially. The city council is considering making the crime constitute a year in jail, up from 90 days currently. The fine would also double from $500 to $1000.

Police are also investing more time on cracking down on subway flashers. Dubbed Operation Exposure, the cops are setting up stings down on the trains to catch more of those "exhibitionists." Five stings have already netted 29 people in the act, helping increase the total amount of arrests to 556.

There are also many accounts of guys that grope and fondle women on the subway. The problem for a long time is that most women don't talk about what happens while riding the MTA, but undercover cops are starting to make a dent in the highly indecent behavior. So all you pervs out there looking for a cheap feel, think twice when you are about to pull that cowardly and disgusting act.

Cafferty: Tenet, Return Your Presidential Medal

George Tenet has made quite a splash with his new book of memoirs bashing the Administration's march to war. What Tenet is missing however, is that he is just as guilty as the rest of them for being complicit in the manipulation of intelligence that was used to mislead the nation before we invaded Iraq. Tenet's job was to give the President the facts as they were, not to tell him how he could twist them for Bush's political purposes. He got that medal for twisting intelligence, and he should give it back.

Feinstein Introduces Bill To Close Gitmo

This one took a while to surface in Congress, but thankfully Senator Feinstein put it out there this week. Closing the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison has been a long time on coming, every day it has helped to reduce our standing in the world community. It has shown that we as a nation condone torture, indefinite detention of people who may or may not have anything to do with terrorism. Gitmo is the ultimate sign of hypocrisy when our government calls on other nations to respect the rule of law.

From The Los Angeles Times:

In a statement, Feinstein said the detention facility had hurt America's credibility around the world because of allegations of abuse there and doubts about the legal rights afforded detainees.

"We must recognize the sustained damage this facility is doing to our international standing," she said in the statement. "We are better served by closing this facility and transferring the detainees elsewhere."

Feinstein's measure would transfer Guantanamo detainees to military or civilian detention facilities in the United States or to their home countries. The legislation allows detainees who "pose no continuing security threat" to be released. Feinstein said she opposed "releasing any terrorists."

This would be a tremendous blow for freedom and against the torture-loving Bush Administration. Here on the left, we have been on the government's case to close this terrible place since we found out that it existed. Feinstein's support comes mainly from the left, but she does have a supporter in the newest Cabinet member, Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Gates knows that this place has to be shut down. He even canceled an order for a new courthouse on the base. However, he is just one man inside of Bush's Administration. I hope that he and now Feinstein can do some good and get rid of prisons once and for all despite George's love for the place.

Mission Accomplished: Four Years Later

On this day four years ago, George Bush got into a flight suit, had a pilot fly him onto the USS Abraham Lincoln so that he could strut his stuff. His 'stuff' was just a mirage. We had occupied a country in just a few weeks and deposed Saddam Hussein, a bad man no doubt. Besides ridding the world of one of its many dictators, the last four years has resulted in chaos and conflict in Iraq.

The actions have begun to destabilize the entire region. We are now looking at possible conflict with Iran, Lebanon is in shambles, there is still no peace in Israel (surprise, surprise) and all we have to say for it is that we have tossed hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives at a problem with no end in sight.

What we need to do is leave. We need to leave as soon as humanly possible. George Bush is going to fight tooth and nail against saving our treasury and so many of our brave soldiers. So we need to do everything we can to stop him. Our representatives and Senators must be pressed so that they keep sending bills to the President that represent the will of the people.

After the President vetoes the current emergency funding bill, the Congress MUST NOT send a weaker bill back to Bush. If they cave, then the American people lose. The nation wants the war to end, and if they see the new Democratic majority submit to the will of the world's latest autocratic-wannabe leader, then not only do the people lose, our democracy ultimately suffers at its core. It is time to say NO!

New Rule: Guns Don't Kill People, Crazy People Kill People

May Day: The Holiday Most Of Us Forget

To many of us, May Day is one of those weird mentions on the calendar as we start the new month. To others however, it is a celebration for the struggle of the common worker. The people that make America hum. Many rights have been won for workers over the last 120 years. But then in the last seven years so many of them have been cut by the Bush Administration. So we continue to fight, and protest for fair treatment for all laborers throughout the country and around the world.

Here in New York City there will be a huge demonstration at Union Square this afternoon at 4pm. There was a tremendous presence last year and we hope to see it again today. After people assemble there will be a march downtown to Foley Square. If you have some time this afternoon, come out and support the cause. You might find a lot more than just a protest, as I did last year at the event. And if you aren't in New York, check this site to see what else is going on around the U.S.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Eliminating Pollution And Cars In NYC

Bloomberg's plan to implement congestion pricing for Manhattan has sparked much debate since he unveiled the idea. Studies have shown that the areas with the most vehicle-trips into the city come from expected areas, such as eastern Queens, lower Staten Island and southern Brooklyn. The odd one out though, is the Upper East Side. The richest and also highly dense section of Manhattan has over 7,000 residents who drive to work daily.

Those cars add considerably to the traffic, the congestion and the carbon monoxide output on the island. Eight dollars a day might not do much to their pocketbooks while residents of the outer burroughs are going to be hit harder. Some UES'ers might switch to mass transit, but we'll see if it comes to be if and when congestion pricing is implemented. Commuters that take the heavily traveled Lex line worry that crowding on the train will get even worse, especially since it is the only line on the Eastside. The Second Avenue subway would help, but who knows if that will ever be built.

As an almost daily rider of the Lex local, my opinion is let them come on down. If it helps the environment in and around the city, then I won't mind the extra riders. Manhattan is a unique city in the United States where cars are really unnecessary. I was glad to give my car up to come to New York, so the natives that do sit in traffic shouldn't mind it too much to do their part.

Jon Stewart In The Interviewee Chair

Bill Moyers gets his turn to interview Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and get his views on Iraq. Stewart emphasizes that if there was a draft, people would then feel the war in a way that would wake them up from their busy lives and fight back. Right on Jon!

Old Bush Donors Giving To Hillary And Barack

In depth detail from the first quarter fundraising results have shown that many old Bush financiers have become donors for the other side. The data has shown that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have split about 300 donors between them that have given to the Bush/Cheney ticket in 2000 and even 2004. The contributions are not small change either. Some of these donors were Bush Pioneers that helped raise $100,000 each for George Bush in the past.

From The New York Sun:

One donor to Mr. Obama professing sincere disillusionment with Mr. Bush is an investment banker from Chicago, John Canning of Madison Dearborn Partners. "It's not an isolated trend. It appears to be a significant wave," he said. "I know lots of my friends in this business are disenchanted and are definitely looking for something different."

In 2004, Mr. Canning was a Bush Pioneer, meaning he pledged to raise $100,000 for the president's re-election. However, he told the Sun that his support for Mr. Bush was already fading at that time. "I was probably unenthusiastic, but not as strongly as I am now," Mr. Canning said. He said he ended up not voting at all. "It wasn't like I thought Kerry was a good deal."

Mr. Canning, whose defection to Mr. Obama was reported by Bloomberg News, said he was a big fan of Mr. Bush in 2000. However, he said he later fell out with the president and other Republicans over a dispute involving a brain-injured Florida woman, Terry Schiavo, as well as subjects like global warming, stem cell research and diplomatic relations with Iran and Syria. "A lot of these issues didn't exist when Bush first ran," the banker said. "How do you support a guy when he shows the door to everything you believe in?"

It's great to see money that has gone to Republicans in the past switch sides. What is interesting to see is how and why. Of course it is hard to ascertain the motives of hundreds of donors but listening to Mr. Canning strikes me as odd. He lists all these issues that he cares about, yet someone would have to completely blind not to see the coming destructiveness of the Bush Administration.

Another interesting thing about this story is what it's missing. There are three front-runners in this race and only two are mentioned. The media loves to fawn over Obama and Clinton, but there is absolutely no mention of John Edwards here. Are there former Bush supporters that have contributed to the Edwards campaign?

My guess is that it is highly unlikely, especially with his pledge to not take money from political action committees. His $14 million dollar total is very impressive despite the no PAC pledge. So the question is, do these conservatives fear the change that Edwards wants to take place in this country? Or maybe they are just caught up with Hillary and Obama like the mainstream media is at the moment? I'm still up in the air on their motives.

A Waste Of Menus

I am always annoyed at the onslaught of menus slid under my apartment door while I am away for the day. Not only is it a waste of paper and ink, it is a pain in the ass to pick them up and potentially dangerous to slip on them when entering a dark room. Sometimes the fliers are strewn all over the stoop, creating an eyesore. What's worse for the building owner, you can be fined by the Sanitation Department $100 for not picking up these restaurants' garbage.

Brooklyn Councilman Simcha Felder's mother received such a fine recently and you know she nagged him on it. I wonder how many times she complained to him until he finally took action and wrote a bill that would fine restaurants for making a mess. If passed, a $50 fine would be assessed for the solicitors.

Now this may seem like the over-regulation the city has endured for a while now, but I think this one may finally be a good one. The bill isn't too ridiculous and it helps the environment a little bit, as well me having to pick up the garbage they leave all the time in and around my building. If you really want to order take-out from a restaurant, wouldn't you rather make your selection based on quality and experience rather than what is thrown under your door?

Palfrey Holds Press Conference

Palfrey pleads to the press to get to the bottom of the whole mess that is surrounding her, not so much for the people on that anxiety-causing list:

Gotcha Goodling!

It was easy to see that Monica Goodling was up to no good as the liaison between the White House and the Attorney General's office. Pleading the fifth to avoid questioning by Congress was a dead giveaway, but it wasn't definitive proof. Just as she got an immunity deal to testify on the Hill, emails in the weekly document dump on Friday show she was possibly committing obstruction of justice.

From Crooks and Liars:

Another Friday, another document dump from the DOJ. As I was scanning through this set, I came across this one from Monica "I plead the Fifth" Goodling. Notice the instruction in boldface (see below the fold for full size image):


Yes, that's an instruction to delete documents. And notice the date: February 12, 2007. That's well after Congress began investigating this matter. I don't believe any subpoenas or document requests had yet been issued (someone please correct me if I'm wrong about that), but it was pretty clear by then that document requests were likely.

It is possible that she was just careless and sloppy, but as a senior legal counsel....give me a break. She knew what she was doing. We are talking about the Bush Administration. Nothing is done by mistake when covering up their mess. That does not include foreign and domestic policy blunders of course. Since this was most likely deliberate while knowing that they were under investigation by Congress, it constitutes obstruction. I may not be a lawyer, and Goodling may have gone to a fourth tier law school, but I know, she knows and any lawyer does as well that Goodling committed a serious error.

The Stirrings Of The Fourth Estate

For many years now journalism as we knew it has been falling apart. The media was meant to put a check on the abuses of power by the government. Now the norm is for 'journalists' to write government talking points verbatim without care or question. If you are going to all the ritzy parties and hob nobbing with important officials, why would you want to offend them in your articles?

The ultimate party has been the White House Correspondents Dinner. Nearly everyone in D.C. gets together to drink, laugh and network. Stephen Colbert sobered them up a bit with his scathing satirical humor last year. This time around they didn't want reality so up close and personal so they had Rich Little (who bombed) entertain the guests. A few days later, the New York Times had a revelation that maybe this whole thing about government/media bonding wasn't such a good thing.

So they pulled out of going from now on:

NEW YORK Tucked inside Frank Rich's Sunday column in the New York Times is indication that the newspaper will no longer play ball with the annual White House Correspondents Association dinners in Washington, which he calls "a crystallization of the press's failures in the post-9/11 era." He writes that the event "illustrates how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media in its shows....

"After last weekend's correspondents' dinner, The Times decided to end its participation in such events," wrote Rich. "But even were the dinner to vanish altogether, it remains but a yearly televised snapshot of the overall syndrome. The current White House, weakened as it is, can still establish story lines as fake as 'Mission Accomplished' and get a free pass."

Rich mixed this criticism of the press in with regret over the death of David Halberstam this week, who Rich said it would be hard to imagine "yukking it up with Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz and two discarded 'American Idol' contestants" at the dinner. "It's our country's bitter fortune that while David Halberstam is gone, too many Joe Alsops still hold sway," writes Rich, comparing the Pulitzer-winner to the now-forgotten Vietnam War cheerleading columnist.

Glad to see Frank Rich got it. It isn't just about the dinner, the problem goes on for 365 days a year (plus one next year). The Times made a good step forward, but only time will tell if their reporting will become more objective in the coming days, weeks and months. Hiding massive stories before an election because the President asked you to isn't exactly good journalism. So the Times still has a lot of making up to do.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's About The Progress

Bush may talk about progress in Iraq over and over again, but the reality on the ground is a far cry from the President's delusions. That is probably why he has to say it so much.

Murtha Talks About Impeachment

Speaker Pelosi may have said that impeachment was off the table, but that didn't stop Congressman Murtha from talking about it on the Sunday talk shows. He was on CBS with Bob Schieffer talking about the President's impending veto of the bill to support the troops when it came out.

From Crooks and Liars:

Murtha: "There are three ways - four ways to influence a President, and one is popular opinion, the elections, third is impeachment and fourth is-is uh, fourth is the uh-uh the purse."

Schieffer: "Are you seriously talking about contemplating an impeachment of this President by Congress?"

Murtha: "What I'm saying is there are four ways to influence a President -"

Schieffer: "And that's one of them?

Murtha: "One of them is impeachment -"

Schieffer: "That's an option that is on the table?"

Murtha: "I'm just saying that's one way to influence a President. The other way is the purse and the purse is controlled by the Congress who is elected by the public and in the last election the public said we want the Democrats in control."

Murtha may not have come out and said he is willing to do it right now, but you can tell it is on his mind. President Bush has been thwarting the will of the people when it comes to the war and has been directly challenging Congress' co-equal powers laid out in the constitution. It is long past time to kick George to the curb and I am glad to see someone in Congress finally talk about it other than Dennis Kucinich. Murtha has real power on the Hill and it is great to see him use it to influence the mainstream to think about impeaching Bush.

Joe Bruno Hides Behind Dead Trooper

Lipris over at The Albany Project reports on the latest of Joe Bruno's scummy behavior. Bruno has been attacking Governor Spitzer over campaign finance reform. While fighting against reform, he had the audacity to invoke the memory of David C. Brinkerhoff, the State Trooper who was killed by friendly fire this past week. This type of talk hardly merits being classified as a human being, even for a New York State Senator.

From Newsday:

But Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) remained combative. He railed against what he said were Spitzer's misplaced priorities.

Bruno then seized on the killing of a state trooper, saying, "What is more important than protecting the lives of law enforcement people? ... Is campaign finance reform more important than that? I don't think so."

Shame on Joe Bruno for sinking to this level. Campaign finance reform has nothing to do with the tragedy of the state trooper killed last week. Protecting law enforcement is always important, but so is having a clean state government. We can certainly do both without having to use this ugly political discourse. Like Lipris said, Bruno has to go, to prison. It is time.

The A-Pop-Calypse

Colbert rants on society's pop culture:

In Case You Forgot, The Meadowlands Are In New Jersey

I maybe a New Yorker, but since I grew up in L.A. I have always supported my old local teams. So when I came here and even before, it always amused me that the Giants and Jets were referred to as New York teams even though they played in New Jersey. It was a little factoid I teased Jets and Giants fans with, but never thought any more of it than that. Well now something may be done so that the team name fits the location.

From WNBC:

Normally it is Jersey fans who gripe that they don't get any respect from pro sports teams that play at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford but have "New York" in their names.

But three New York assemblymen recently sponsored a bill to stop football's Giants and Jets and soccer's Red Bulls from using the Empire State's name or abbreviation because they don't play their home games in New York.

"At the very least, the location of the place where a team plays should be accurate, and reflect where they actually play their home games," Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette, of Queens, writes in the bill, as reported by The Record of Bergen County in Saturday newspapers.

Team officials vow they won't change their names, but legislation might propel them to do otherwise. Jersey sports officials agree with the bill, claiming that since it is New Jersey that gives teams government money, they should have the Garden State name attached. It is amusing that two New York legislators are the authors of the bill. It is the first time I've heard of a native complaining that these teams have an identity crisis. Of course, legislators come up with a lot of bullshit laws all the time, so we'll have to see how far this one goes.

Gonzales Protested At His Harvard Law Reunion

How Harvard let him even come near the law school is amazing to me. In the last few years and especially the last few weeks, the Attorney General has shown nothing but the utmost disrespect for the law. Being Bush's loyal lawyer and AG has led to the most incredible abuses of power this country has ever seen. Thankfully there were some lawyers-to-be up in Cambridge to let him know he is not appreciated in the legal community.

From RawStory:

Student protesters wearing hoods and Guantanamo Bay garb found their way into the US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' 25th Harvard Law School reunion Saturday.

A release sent by the group to RAW STORY claims Gonzales was "forced to leave through a back door."

Gonzales apparently arrived unnannounced. Students met him and his fellow classmates outside the law library where the class of 1982 had posed for a photo.

As the photographer said cheese, the group said students yelled that "torture," "resign" or "I don't recall" might be more appropriate.

Gonzales just doesn't get it. He feels free to go around and pretend he is a well-respected lawyer because he is technically the nation's top lawyer. Yet when this nation is constantly being dragged down into the depths of potential autocracy while he is giving it the green light, he deserves no respect at all.

Second year law student Deborah Popowski had a much more personal encounter. After hearing that he was on campus, she rushed down to the event to personally tell Gonzales how she felt. She said, "I'd like to tell you that we are ashamed to have you as an alumnus of this school. And we're glad you're here to be able to tell you that." Gonzales allegedly tried to play stupid by offering to shake her hand, but she refused to do so. Good for Deborah and the entire group that went down to protest Gonzales and all that he represents.

Iraq War Wife Calls Chickenhawk Kristol A Liar

A couple days ago neo-con William Kristol was on C-Span when a wife of a soldier phoned in. Her story was heart-wrenching, but the sound of her voice spoke volumes beyond that. Her husband is serving in Iraq and sees Iraqis wave to them and then plant IEDs later on. She implores people like Kristol to end this war, wishing that if he wants war so badly, then the nation should institute a draft so that her family and others like them can heal from all the time being apart.

During the whole time, Kristol is looking down at the desk, trying to avoid the reality of what he is hearing. When the caller hangs up, he pathetically tries to relate to this poor woman by saying a friend's son had just gotten back from Iraq. How the hell does solve anything? Kristol just wants America to be the world's police force and he doesn't care about the consequences to average folks. There is no sympathy from this man, only empty words and blind pursuit of a failed global policy. Read the transcript and see the video at Think Progress.