Saturday, May 19, 2007
Frankly, this is a problem that should have been fixed long before Spitzer took office. It wasn't hard to see that sub-prime lenders were going to swoop into low-income areas and take advantage of low interest rates and unsuspecting borrowers. At least our new Governor is going to do something about the terrible practice of predatory lending.
From Crain's New York Business:
New York state Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Friday announced an interagency task force aimed at combating predatory lending practices throughout the state.
The task force -- Halt Abusive Lending Transactions -- is designed to help the public handle questionable lending practices in the subprime market, and to make it easier for low-income families to buy new homes.
"Lending practices that prey upon the public cannot and will not be tolerated," Mr. Spitzer said in a statement. "This task force will take a comprehensive look at the sub-prime lending industry, and recommend steps to protect borrowers, particularly minorities and the elderly.
The city alone is facing 15,000 foreclosures, ruining many families that were tricked into what they thought was a low interest loan. Now as payments soar higher and higher, people cannot afford to live in their homes anymore. Hopefully the Governor and AG Cuomo can do something about this escalating problem.
John McCain exposed an ugly temper yesterday in the Senate chambers. His tirade was directed at fellow Republican Jon Cornyn of Texas over the contentious issue of immigration. Instead of trying to be easy going yet tough and stupid at the same time like #43, the potential (and I say potential in the loosest of meaning) #44 got hot-headed and nasty with the part of his party that vehemently hates brown people.
From The Washington Post:
Things got really heated when Cornyn accused McCain of being too busy campaigning for president to take part in the negotiations, which have gone on for months behind closed doors. "Wait a second here," Cornyn said to McCain. "I've been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You're out of line."
McCain, a former Navy pilot, then used language more accustomed to sailors (not to mention the current vice president, who made news a few years back after a verbal encounter with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont).
"[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room," shouted McCain at Cornyn. McCain helped craft a bill in 2006 that passed the Senate but couldn't be compromised with a House bill that was much tougher on illegal immigrants.
So the big bully marched into town to be a (terrible) leader for his fellow Republicans and ended up cursing at another Senator. Obviously Cornyn hit a soft spot when the issue of McCain's prolonged voting absence was brought up. Looks like the truth hurts, as McCain has missed dozens of votes in a row. So what did he do to remedy the problem? He got right back on a plane for a campaign event and missed another vote, his 43rd in a row.
Like Congressman Mike Pence said, the markets are just like those in Indiana. Is it typical to walk through Indianapolis or even Gary and watch out for snipers on your way to the shops? Yeah right.
Blogger Jim Kenefick had a serious problem paying his wife's medical bills until a mysterious benefactor mailed him a check for $12,000 dollars. The money helped turn his family's life around despite the terrible conditions that the health care state is in these days. His conservative friends directed him to cheaper health care programs, but not until that generous contribution came did his situation make a turn for the better.
Jim is known for his moorewatch.com site that attacks Michael Moore and all the projects he has accomplished through the years. Whether it was Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11, Jim went on the offensive. When he found out from the NY Daily News that the mysterious patron was Michael Moore, the news didn't change his tune. In fact, it turned Kenefick's self-righteousness up to new heights.
From The New York Daily News:
Having suspected Moore might be his secret patron, he contends that his bete noir made the gift just to publicize "Sicko," which takes aim at America's health-care system and, we've heard, touches upon Moore's covert generosity.
"I knew he was using me," said Kenefick. "Moore is going to try to make me into one of his little puppets."
Kenefick wants it known that "I'm not an idiot. I know when to say yes to something, even if the string attached is obvious. What kind of moron turns down a free 12 grand?"
Whether or not Moore uses Kenefick in "Sicko" or not, there was a good deed done and the recipient callously responded to his generous foe. Michael Moore does not need Jim to publicize his film. His name has all the publicity it needs. Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival isn't for those clamoring for press. As for being a 'puppet,' it is a shame that Jim does not see the strings attached to him from the corporate health care world. It was Moore that helped a man in need, it is Moore that is trying to cut Jim's strings, not add any additional ones.
Karma always has a funny way of working itself into daily life. Three separate groups of people united by religion and war in a sad string of events that helped dole out each's respective karmic load. What else could connect Jerry Falwell, Anthony Bradshaw and Fred Phelps?
Anthony Bradshaw was recently killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. His family's mourning was about to be viciously interrupted by the Westboro Baptist Church, the group that protests military funerals because they believe it is a sign from God due to our tolerance of homosexuality in America. Bradshaw's family was bracing to hear the worst when the group decided to make other plans.
Fred Phelps and Co. changed their minds about ruining Bradshaw's funeral when they heard that Jerry Falwell had died. Apparently for these crazy bastards, not even Falwell was a big enough bigot and anti-gay activist. So they are off to protest his funeral instead. It is awful for his family, but the man brought it on himself.
From The Star-Telegram:
"There are dead soldiers everywhere," Phelps-Roper said. "You don't have a very high-profile, cowardly, lying false prophet like Falwell dying every day."
Phelps-Roper said the group plans to demonstrate at Falwell's service because members believe he was never harsh enough in his declarations that homosexuality was the source of America's problems.
"That coward is afraid. He is ashamed of the Gospel of the Jesus Christ," Phelps-Roper said. "He claimed he had the Word of God and then he hid it."
I'll give Phelps-Roper credit for one thing, she called out Falwell's legacy perfectly. He was most certainly a false-prophet. His living friends Robertson and Dobson and apparent enemy Phelps are among that group. All of these people who come out and spew hatred are disgusting human beings. They may believe in the lord, but I find it hard to believe that Jesus or whomever would ever call for this type of crap. Karma hasn't hit them yet, but it will in due time.
Hotline TV gives us a re-enactment of the events surrounding Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales' slimy attempt to have John Ashcroft sign off on their illegal NSA wiretapping program:
Friday, May 18, 2007
Joe Bruno attended a fundraiser last night for his embattled state party here in Manhattan last night and he could not help but turn his vitriol on his new nemesis Eliot Spitzer. Instead of focusing on the all the highlights his majority status has collected throughout the years (there are none) he went after the Governor with everything he had.
From The Empire Zone:
“Our governor, and I have to say this, our governor wants to be the only person left standing in government,” Mr. Bruno told a crowd of some 1,100 people at the Midtown Sheraton. He mentioned Mr. Spitzer’s salty exchange in January with Senator James Tedisco, when the governor described himself as a “steamroller,” preceded by a profanity.
Mr. Bruno did not use the full profanity himself, but said Mr. Spitzer “is proud of that, proud of it. Well, he’s right about the first part.”
There was scattered laughter among the crowd, and then Mr. Bruno went on to talk about how the “steamroller ran out of steam” during budget negotiations, how the governor’s poll numbers dipped, how his priorities are wrong because he “wants to talk about campaign finance reform, wants to talk about allowing gay marriages.”
“When this governor says that this Republican majority will not survive, he said it in November, and we are here, he said it in January, and we are here, he said it last month and we are here,” Mr. Bruno added, wrapping up his speech. “He says it every other day because he likes to hear himself talk.”
Scattered laughter is all you are going to get out of that type of talk, even on your hometurf. The audience might have thought you a little out of touch when you proclaim the long life of the Republican majority, especially since the GOP state Senators are being picked off one by one.
As for profanities, Eliot may make use of them with his language but it is your tenure sir that is most profane. The corruption stinks to high hell and that is probably why federal investigators are on your tail. The Governor likes to talk because it precedes his actions. Achieving equality for all New Yorkers is not a laughing matter, it is a commendable one. You should only hope that you are a fraction of the man that Governor Spitzer is.
It is nice to see the Senate prepare to scorch Gonzales over the media flames again with a no confidence vote next week in the Senate. It would have been fantastic for them to fulfill their constitutional role and impeach the morally bankrupt Attorney General. Everyone knows he's a liar now, even some Republicans on Capitol Hill want him gone, but it is still not enough for what Gonzales deserves.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats announced on Thursday they will seek a U.S. Senate vote of "no confidence" in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, hopeful it will prompt President George W. Bush's embattled friend to resign."
The White House brushed off the Democrats' latest move tied to their widening investigation of Gonzales for the firing of federal prosecutors as "nothing more than a meaningless political act." A White House spokesman added that the attorney general still had "the full confidence of the president."
Democrats said they intend to hold a "no confidence" vote on Gonzales as early as next week and expect it to pass with the support of a number of Republicans.
I'm almost certain it will pass. I also find it hard not to disagree with the White House that it is a meaningless act. If the Democrats think it will make Georgie push Gonzales to resign, they obviously haven't paid much attention to the President. Bush will hang on to Alberto for far longer than he did Rumsfeld. His Attorney General is so important to him precisely for all the criminal acts he has committed. Bush is trying to hold the ship together and he doesn't intend to let it go.
Although Keith didn't officially break the news, he did his job in getting it out there to the masses. See Bush doesn't care about our troops, it is only for publicity. When Democrats offered to increase the soldiers pay, his supporters might think Bush would go along with it. Well guess again wingers.
John McCain has been so busy on the campaign trail desperately fishing for votes and dollars, he forgot that he was still a United States Senator. See John, when you are in the Senate there are these things called votes and the presence of a Senator is expecting when a vote is called. McCain should be smart enough to know this, but according to his voting record, it seems he just doesn't care.
From The Hill:
While McCain has missed four of 14 Senate roll calls on the war this year, other presidential candidates have managed their schedules around the high-profile votes.
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) voted on each of the 14 measures.
McCain’s campaign said the rigorous travel schedule necessary when running for the White House makes it extremely difficult to be voting all the time in Washington.
“Sen. McCain has traveled the country speaking to the importance of winning in Iraq and clearly stated that we must give the new strategy a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be too damaging to our nation,” Diaz said. “Regrettably, it is impossible for a presidential candidate to avoid missing votes, but Sen. McCain has not missed a vote where his vote would have affected the outcome, and he will make every effort to be in the Senate on the occasions when it would.”
No Mr. Diaz, that is incorrect on two levels. First of all the other Senators running for President have made it to Washington to record their votes on this crucial issue. If they can do it, so can you. What makes you think you are so special, eh?
Second of all, who cares if you are a tiebreaker or not. Registering your vote shows how you truly feel about all the hot air that comes out of your mouth on the campaign trail. Voters should be able to hear and see you vote for failed policies such as George Bush's "Stay The Course" in Iraq. It is time to get off your high horse and do the people's business.
Queens Councilman Eric Gioia was in Congress yesterday meeting with N.Y. and Massachusetts representatives about changing food stamp allowances. Eric can speak from experience now that he has completed one week of living on the $28 stipend. The money did not even cover the week, despite buying inexpensive (and unhealthy) food. Gioia ended up at the food pantry at the end of his week to pick up additional items. Once the week was up however, he was off to Congress to chow down.
From The New York Daily News:
WASHINGTON - A comfort-food splurge ended Eric Gioia's poverty diet yesterday - and the City Council member who spent a week eating on less than $28 let somebody else worry about the check.
The Queens Democrat wolfed down turkey, mashed potatoes and broccoli between meetings with Capitol Hill lawmakers as he pressed for change in food stamp allowances.
He let Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) pick up the tab, and even sent out for the Diet Coke he'd fantasized about while spending seven days drinking nothing but tap water.
If it is that bad for a week, imagine doing that day in and day out while suffering the toll of poverty. Eric understands that now to some degree and spent the day lobbying for reform of the food stamp bill. The program should allow for healthy and nutritious food instead of parched wheat products and chemically ladened processed foods. Gioia realized that "It's not a Democratic issue, and it's not a Republican issue. It's a moral issue. There are hungry kids in New York City." And there are millions of those kids across the country. It is time for Congress to act.
Thanks to Anominousone on YouTube for creating this brilliant clip of rightwing radio and television nuts with all the evidence that goes along with it.
Lofty discussions involving politics and multiculturalism are usually not things you would associate with Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh always goes low for the humor, whether it is a racist remark or an outright lie about any subject related to politics. The Oxycontin lover got somewhat deep and wondered out loud about the difference between Republicans and Democrats.
From Media Matters:
I kid you not -- "[w]omen and minorities." Hardest hit: women. You can count on it in every -- just like there's a template developing for the Republican debate last night. "How come there are no women and minorities on stage?" I guess you forgot about 2004. And I guess -- you know, the Democrats never get those kinds of questions because it's always assumed that they're fair and just, and not discriminatory and all that.
But, anyway, this story -- I guess it's too hard to investigate the government is actually ready for another disaster? This is an AP story -- but it's ran [sic] on CNN -- reports on yet another stupid poll by another stupid news organization, which actually shows nothing but how stupid the public is in believing everything the drive-by media says.
We've got a poll of the American -- why would you believe a poll of uninformed or ignorant people? What does it matter that a majority of Americans don't think the federal government's ready? Why not go ask the FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] people? They're the ones who would have to mobilize. So, we're to conclude, "Oh my gosh, the government's not ready! A majority of people don't think so. They must know something I don't." It's just trash -- absolute trash journalism.
Forget about the fact that Limbaugh didn't bother researching the goods on FEMA himself. The evidence from the summer of 2005 showed that they weren't ready back then. With Bush providing minimal funding, it is hard to imagine them doing better for the upcoming Hurricane season or for any natural disaster that requires their assistance.
Back to his little anecdotal evidence from the Presidential debates. Rush, there is no need to assume the Democrats will have minorities running for office. You constantly disparage an African-American and a woman that are top contenders for the office. I don't know if you've said much about Governor Richardson, so I won't comment on your feelings towards Hispanics (though I'm not hoping for anything good). This is just another example of reality staring at the right wing media in the face....and them ignoring it wholeheartedly.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Earlier this week former Deputy and interim Attorney General James Comey testified to the Senate about a horrifying tale that involves Chief of Staff Card and then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. The two of them tried to get John Ashcroft to sign off on the NSA torture program while he was heavily sedated in the ICU. When Comey found out what they were up to, he ran over to the hospital and had the FBI cover the building and was in the hospital room while the event transpired. Due to his presence, the rule of law was saved....for the moment. Nevertheless Bush had been conducting his illegal program for two and half years (and still going).
Now that this information has hit the press, reporters are asking questions, but they aren't getting any from the man who allegedly sent them to the hospital. When Kelly O'Donnell spoke up at a White House press conference and confronted Bush on the issue, he avoided the question completely.
From Crooks and Liars:
O'Donnell: There's been some very dramatic testimony before the Senate this week from one of your former top justice department officials, who describes a scene that some Senators called stunning about a time when the warrantless wiretap program was being reviewed. Sir, did you send your then chief of staff and White House counsel to the bedside of John Ashcroft, while he was ill to get him to approve that program and do you believe that kind of conduct from White House officials is appropriate?
Bush: Kelly, there's a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn't happen and I'm not going to talk about it…It's a very sensitive program…
The program is 'sensitive' because it goes against everything that was written in the constitution. He won't answer the question because he knows what the real answer is. The answer shows another high crime that him and his Administration has committed during his tenure as President.
The difference between the two is astounding. The video below shows how funding the U.N. can make a world of difference. Congress needs to make sure that the United Nations can fulfill its role around the globe. Our foreign policy in the last few years has used and abused our military to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Money that could have been allocated for far better purposes.
Ah, nothing like the stench of hypocrites in D.C. They are all over I'm sure, but definitely reside mostly within the Republican party. The Republican majority in the past ran roughshod over the Democrats for twelve years and now they are complaining that Democratic freshmen want to clean up the place and remove the status quo. Old school Democrats are also complaining about the new rule as well.
From The Hill:
Republicans began their assault in the mid-afternoon after hearing that the Democratic leadership allegedly planned to change the germaneness rule, which would limit the ability of the minority to challenge provisions in a bill on the floor.
“This is an astonishing attempt by the majority leadership to duck accountability for tax-and-spend policies the American people do not want,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). “The majority leadership is gutting House rules that have been in place for 185 years so they can raise taxes and increase government spending without a vote. House Republicans will use every tool available to fight this abuse of power.”
Stacey Bernard, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), said the Republican antics were counterproductive and that they had not even seen the content of the bill they were protesting.
“They are delaying a bill that is critical,” she said, referring to the defense authorization bill that was scheduled to come to the floor. “They don’t know what they are doing.”
Republicans not knowing what they are doing? I would never have thought such a thing. The GOP leadership is threatening to bring down the House because they fear that if lobbying as it is done now gets curtailed, they will lose all willingness to be there in the first place. They hate government unless it pays them well. If corruption is attacked by new, tough rules, what is the point of being a Republican in Congress?
I've got to admit this little video was amusing. It left me wondering what tune I would choose for Hillary's campaign. So many good sounds out there. Perhaps "Purpose" from Avenue Q, Springsteen's "Born to Run," "Think for Yourself" by the Beatles? So many great songs that show she is run by the polls and big money. Perhaps we can create a compliation for her.
Usually our military wreaks havoc on other countries, but this week we did damage to our own. The "Shock and Awe" campaign on South Jersey unleashed an enormous forest fire, a result of flares dropped by F-16s onto a gunnery range. The fire has consumed 22 square miles of between Ocean and Burlington Counties. Some towns and developments have had to evacuate as firefighters struggled to get a handle on the blaze. Thankfully the rain from last night helped to turn the tide, creating hopes for the fire to be contained by today.
Attytood notes that there is something similar about all of this and what we do in other countries that we bomb.
The kicker, which isn't in the article but I just heard reported by Alan Chernoff on CNN, is that the Air Force is now knocking on doors in the endangered neighborhood, giving people money. In fact, he reported, they'll likely pay to replace people's homes if and when any are destroyed. Does that sounds familiar? Yup -- it's the exact same thing that we now do in Iraq and Afghanistan when we accidentially target civilians.
Over there, we've paid out $32 million for bombings and raids that in many cases unintentionally killed civilians; here, we could pay a lot more, even though hopefully there won't be any loss of life. I guess for South Jersey, it is a small and highly regrettable taste of what life is like in a war zone.It would be hypocritical of me to criticize the Air Force for training in New Jersey -- not after writing articles questioning the laggard response to 9/11. But there's got to be a better way than testing flares over a parched forest, isn't there? Maybe one of my military readers can make sense of this.
South Jersey may not be a warzone, but this is certainly a taste of life thrown out of whack by our military jets. Apparently there are some nasty terrorists hiding out in the dry woods of the Garden State. I thought Bush said we would be fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. Oh well!
Manhattan is a crowded place to say the least, but Bloomberg intends on making our island a little bit more packed by developing the 26 acres that encompasses the Hudson railyards. One of the most ambitious building plans is set to take the first step when New York's biggest developers begin bidding on the project in June. Besides any bidding war, the biggest conflict will be between the city and state endorsed developers versus the community on the Far Westside.
From The New York Times:
“The city hasn’t done anything like this before, certainly not in Midtown,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding. “We want to create a 21st-century Rockefeller Center.”
Known as Hudson Yards, the project is central to one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s longstanding ambitions: to transform the heavily industrial Far West Side into the city’s third business district, after Wall Street and Midtown, with not just high-rise office and apartment towers, hotels and parks, but also an expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center nearby.
The challenges are daunting. Developers say it will probably cost $1 billion to build platforms over the yards for skyscrapers as tall as 70 stories, and the work must be done while Long Island Rail Road trains are running. Some residents want assurances that the development will include permanent housing for poor and working-class families. And a sharp debate is emerging over whether to tear down the northern end of the High Line, an unused railroad structure that is being converted to an elevated park south of 30th Street.
That is the first of many battle-lines being drawn before the city begins accepting bids on the site. Low income housing is also a priority for locals so that people aren't priced out of their neighborhood. Strangely enough, developers charge that that addition will cost another $100 million to include.
The old High Line rail line is already being transformed into a city park that travels from 30th St. down to Gansevoort. Community activists want the park continued up into the railyards. The addition according to the community is $800,000. Yet developers say it will cost $100 million.
This whole project is a cash cow for the city and those that will be able to charge rent on the land. If the MTA rebuffed the city's offer to buy their share of the land for $500 million, you know the property is ultimately worth well into the billions. The developers want their share of the pie and that is fine considering they'll ultimately build the new skyscrapers. Bloomberg's ambition to fill in the space on the Far Westside must not be compromised by the money factor alone. The community must not be forgotten and their demands adhered to. Our city has had enough corporate influence and this project's stench of it needs to be mitigated.
Colbert and Dean cover the Republican debate last night on the show. Dean calls all of the Republican candidates windbags except John McCain on torture. And there is so much more:
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
A Federal judge issued an order for the NYPD to release all their information pertaining to the GOP Convention protests today. The city fought to keep them remained sealed and what was released showed that the NYPD did not want to be embarrassed by their activities. Nearly a third of 36,500 of the city's finest worked during the convention and some of them went way beyond...and below the call of duty.
From the AP:
City lawyers had argued that the arrests, mainly for disorderly conduct, were justified in part because of intelligence showing certain protesters were threats to the public. But civil rights activists argue the internal documents, many marked "secret," show the nation's largest police department spent tremendous time and resources to conduct surveillance on people who were merely practicing free speech and displaying no sign of criminal intent.
The papers "vindicate the sanity of those people who thought they were being followed," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said Wednesday at a news conference.
One dispatch detailed plans by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network to hold a rally featuring Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z and other rap stars. It concluded that their presence "will likely inflate the total number of participants."
The documents show that the NYPD sought to monitor activists as far away as California and Europe, Lieberman said. They also suggest the department infiltrated protest groups by having undercover officers enter their Internet chat rooms and attend organizing meetings, she added.
This type of information that was documented is incredibly invasive and a warning sign of the police state that the current government seems to endorse. The judge's decision was a good one in that it exposes what our government is sinking to. Free speech does not need to be monitored in this way. Those protesters were peaceful and only meant to express their constitutional right to show their disdain for President Bush and the rest of the Republican party.
A few weeks back I posted a story about the aggrieved Chinese restaurant workers who were underpaid and overworked by their bosses. Many employees from several restaurants throughout the city were victimized and taken advantage of because many were new to this country. Thankfully a judge saw the scenario for what it was and sided with the workers, resulting in a big hit to those restaurant owners.
From The New York Daily News:
Chinatown restaurant workers who claimed their bosses stole their tips and cheated them out of overtime thought they'd scored a major payday when a judge awarded them $700,000 in February.
But their lawyers ended up the bigger winners - tallying $1 million in legal fees, even though they took on the case pro bono.
A judge this week awarded attorneys' fees of as much as $450-an-hour to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, who argued the case on behalf of waiters, busboys and captains at the 88 Palace Restaurant.
The legal fees were enormous but since the firm pledged to do the case pro-bono, they will keep it that way. All of the legal fees are going to be donated to Asian-American legal ventures in case more of this type of abuse occurs. So while the workers are going to split $700,000 dollars, it is actually more like $1.7 million.
The world lost a great purveyor of hate and intolerance yesterday as Jerry Falwell died from heart complications. His career spanned more than 30 years as he helped build the religious right in the 1970s with his Moral Majority operation, that helped lead to Ronald Reagan's victory and the growing tide of anti-gay sentiment that can be found on the right.
From The Huffington Post:
The rise of Christian conservatism _ and the Moral Majority's full-throated condemnation of homosexuality, abortion and pornography _ made Falwell perhaps the most recognizable figure on the evangelical right, and one of the most controversial ones, too.
Over the years, Falwell waged a landmark libel case against Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt over a raunchy parody ad, and created a furor in 1999 when one of his publications suggested that the purse-carrying "Teletubbies" character Tinky Winky was gay.
Matt Foreman, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, extended condolences to those close to Falwell, but added: "Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America's anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation's appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation."
While I pray for his family and extend condolences, I find it hard to empathize for the man that has done so much to set us back as a nation. The notable stories about the tele-tubbies, the lawsuit against Larry Flynt and his statements blaming liberals et al for 9/11 are sad and amusing. It was the years of preaching intolerance and bigotry against those he feared that I will remember most. The organization he built up that spread so much disease in the nation's collective conscience will never be forgotten....and never forgiven, in life or in death.
The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey is thinking of getting rid of manned tollbooths once and for all. The result would be a system where an E-ZPass is a must in order to use the bridges and tunnels of the tri-state area that have tolls. Most drivers that come into the city have E-ZPass already, roughly 75 to 80 percent of all in-bound traffic, so is it really a big deal to get rid of the old system?
The pros of the change are vast. It reduces idling time at the entrances of the bridges and tunnels so that is good for the environment. Traffic flow would increase, as the E-ZPass accomodates 1400 cars and regular tollbooths only take up to 400 cars an hour. Basically it would help NYC to move faster and more efficiently.
The downturns would be to those that are visiting the area and do not have nor know what an E-ZPass is. Coming from Los Angeles, it is rare to see a toll on the maze of freeways except down in Orange County. It would also hurt those that can only do cash and rely on the tollbooth. The 185 unionized workers that man the booths would also be fazed out.
For the vast majority of people, this works out great. Long waits to get into the Lincoln, Holland and Midtown tunnels are horrendous and frustrating to be a part of. When you need to rush to the airport, you really feel it (which is why I take the train now, not to mention way less expensive). The reduced pollution from idling cars is also very nice. So while a few will be inconvenienced by the change, I think that the new system would benefit New York, as long as the minority that rely on the the booths be accommodated somehow.
First of all it amazes me that Chris Wallace would ask such a tough question of Rudy. Why did he refuse to acknowledge the advice of Jerry Hauer to move the Emergency Command Center from WTC 7? Instead of owning up to his mistake, he laughs it off and ignores what Jerry Hauer said and blamed Jerry for not wanting to move from WTC 7. The callousness that drips from this man's mouth is abhorrent.
As I watched a clip from the Republican debate last night, the fact that the Republican party is dying was reinforced for me. When Ron Paul was on stage and asked about our foreign policy he signaled a warning for his party. He reminded them that Republicans were anti-interventionist in the past and that that type of policy needs to be revisited. Instead of cheering for him, the audience was silent until Rudy spoke out of turn and wanted to start a fight with Paul over the truths he was speaking.
See, the Republicans do not want to hear about reality. They want to think Americans can do no wrong no matter what the effects are on other countries. And if someone from within the party mentions the cause of those effects, all hell will be unleashed on that poor soul. That was what Giuliani tried to do to Ron Paul. So did Fox News and the audience at the hall last night. They tried to make him seem out of step. Well Paul gave them all another dose of truth with the response to that question.
From Crooks and Liars:
Wallace: "Congressman Paul, you're one of six house Republicans who back in 2002 voted against authorizing President Bush to use force in Iraq. Now you say we should pull our troops out. A recent poll found that 77% of Republicans dissaprove of the idea of setting a timetable for withdrawal. Are you running for the nomination of the wrong party?"
Paul: "You-you have to realize that the base of the Republican Party shrunk last year because of the war issue, so that percentage represents less people. If you look at 65-70% of the American people, they want us out of there, they want the war over."
While Paul tries to stay in step with the majority of Americans, the Republicans refuse to adhere to the realities of the day. They will cheer on the war and anyone who picks up the flag and marches deeper into battle after George Bush is gone. The only problem is that while there are quite a few Republican troops on the front line, plenty of them are deserting and their ranks are being depleted as the war in Iraq drags on.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Guarding against the lies of the right is a tough job to do and Media Matters has been getting it done for quite some time now. Lately the liars David Brock and Co. have been documenting started biting back, most notably Bill O'Lielly. As nuts as he is, not even he would carry out a frivolous lawsuit against Media Matters. Though there is a wingnut that will. His name is Andy Martin.
This is Andy's deal, from Betanews:
"David Brock has invented a new form of political organization: a tax exempt group that is subsidized by taxpayers while Brock gets to spew his hate/smears," Martin charges. "The sympathetic left-wing national media love it.
"Brock attacked Don Imus. He has attacked Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. And he as also smeared me. I am in good company with national media personalities.
"I have sued Brock and MMFA. He can defend his defamatory accusations in DuPage County, Illinois Circuit Court.
"I can't prove it yet, but I believe there are links between Brock's tax exempt hate/smear group and Barack Obama's campaign," Martin will state.
Sounds like your typical right winger seething with hate and looking for revenge. He can't handle his own truth, so he is attacking the messenger. Andy is outraged he has been labeled an anti-semite. It probably wouldn't look good if you were running for the Senate versus Dick Durbin next year, would it? But what if it were true?
From The Chicago Tribune:
In a 1983 personal bankruptcy case, he referred to a federal bankruptcy judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race."
In 1973, the Illinois Supreme Court refused to allow Martin admission to the bar. The court's decision noted that Martin, a University of Illinois law school graduate who was previously known by the name Anthony R. Martin-Trigona, had a Selective Service record that showed he had a "moderately-severe character defect manifested by well documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character."
There are so many funny stories about Andy, I hope the judge laughs him right out of court. AHiddenSaint has the rest of the story over at DailyKos. Kudos to him for putting it all together. I look forward to this day in court real soon. Then hopefully Andy can be committed to an institution that cares for his kind.
The President wants so desperately to be seen as smart, he'll easily lie to try and impress the masses. George claims to have read 104 books in a year, or two a week. Who has time to read that many books, and why would the President have time to read them? Doesn't he have a job to do?
When I think of the NJ shore, the sun, sand, ocean, even a Bruce Springsteen song comes to mind. The last thing I want to think about is the possibility of being blown up. Yet that is exactly what will be on the minds of beach-goers when Surf City reopens their stretch of sand on Memorial Day.
From The New York Times:
After removing 1,111 pieces of potentially explosive military ordnance from the sand and surf, the United States Army Corps of Engineers is ready to declare the beaches here and in neighboring Ship Bottom safe and recommend that they be reopened in time for Memorial Day.
So, once the State Department of Environmental Protection approves, the “Beach Closed” signs will come down. But in their place will be new signs prohibiting beachgoers from using metal detectors or digging deeper than a foot into the sand. These “land-use controls” will be posted at every entrance and on every lifeguard stand along the 1.4 miles of affected beach on Long Beach Island.
“We really don’t expect anybody to find anything, but you don’t know,” George Follett, an explosives safety specialist for the Army Corps who has been overseeing the removal of the devices, said on Monday. “If there’s a lot of wave action, something might be uncovered.” Keith Watson, the project manager, said he did not expect umbrellas to pose a problem, but children digging too deep might be warned to ease off.
Store owners believe it will be a slow summer because of all the warnings. I certainly have no plans on going down there and many parents wouldn't want to take a risk with their active little ones. It seems a lot easier to go to another beach instead.
I always loved digging deep holes in the sand when I was a kid at the beach. Being told not to dig and why would have scared the crap out of me. Now I just want to know why it is there. Apparently in World War I the navy dumped old munitions into the sea if they weren't needed and the explosives sat at the bottom of the ocean. Then the Army Corp of Engineers helped widen NJ beaches by dredging the bottom of the ocean, bringing along little bits of explosive metal amongst the grains of sand.
The city that never sleeps just got a whole lot more expensive for a place to put a bed down in. Apartment prices skyrocketed 23 percent across the board in the five burroughs. While housing prices have stagnated in many parts of the country, NYC is oblivious to any signs of slowing down. The average apartment is now $745,000 dollars or $671 dollars per square foot. Of course that is broken down further when you look at places in throughout the burroughs. Obviously you aren't going to find Queens prices in Manhattan.
From New York Business:
Manhattan, once again, took the lead with the highest average sale price for apartments at $1.1 million. Brooklyn was second at $441.000, while Queens came in third at $257,000.
In Manhattan, the average price per square foot for apartments rose 3% to $1,103, while in Brooklyn and Queens had prices per square foot of $476 and $348, respectively. Percentages for Brooklyn and Queens were not immediately available.
In the five boroughs, the average sale price for one-to-three family homes climbed 7% to $595,000, while median sale prices grew 8% to $540,000. Manhattan saw the biggest increase of 16%, on average. Sale prices in Brooklyn and the Bronx rose 7%, Queens sale prices gained 4% and Staten Island sale prices edged up 3%.
Basically all the numbers show that the boom isn't stopping in NYC anytime soon. No matter where you go, expect high prices all around in this regional sellers' market. The question for renters who are looking to buy is when to do it. Do you wait for the market to level out or jump in as soon as possible. The latter would seem to keep the fuel on the fire of the market....but no one wants to be left behind.
Usually I can't stand Hannity interviews because he likes to bully his guests that do not agree with everything that he says. Hitchens however completely owned Sean on Sunday night. Hannity conceded points to Christopher and was talked down to repeatedly. Now this is the way to put that right wing gas bag in his place.
Lieberman caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, but that is about all he does for Democratic causes. The man votes like a Republican on the crucial issues of the day (like Iraq) and now as a proud member of the Connecticut for Lieberman party, he feels that he can help fundraise for the right too. A spinster might call it a bipartisan event, but it is really just another knife being twisted in the back of the Democratic party.
From The Washington Post:
The event, which will be held in a Capitol Hill location still to be determined, will feature Lieberman and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) -- a very rare bipartisan fundraiser. Attendees are being asked to raise $3,000; $2,000 would come in the form of a political action committee donation while the other $1,000 would be a personal contribution, according to an electronic invite for the fundraiser obtained today by The Fix.
"Let's try to make this a bi-partisan tour de force," reads the invite.
"Senator Specter approached Senator Collins with the idea of doing a joint fundraising event with Senator Lieberman," said Collins spokeswoman Jen Burita. "Both senators are colleagues with whom she works well and good friends, so we thought it was a great idea."
Lieberman's willingness to work openly for Collins's reelection will surely not sit well with Democratic strategists who want Rep. Tom Allen (D) to oust the two-term incumbent. For Lieberman, his support of Collins is payback. She was one of a handful of senators who campaigned for him in the general election following his loss in the Democratic primary to Lamont. (He ran for and won reelection as an independent.) Lieberman and Collins also serve together as the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the Senate.
The June 21st event will be payback for Lieberman, who was endorsed last year by Senator Collins after Joe lost the Democratic primary. That primary should have been enough for Holy Joe to get the message that he was out of step for the Democrats in Connecticut. Unfortunately his massive ego and lust for power got in the way of any sort of dignity that he might have had left.
Now he is on the loose and hardly tied to his former party. Raising money for Republicans directly effects the chances to build on the size of the Democratic caucus in the Senate. Apparently this is the way Joe goes when his feelings are hurt by the people that abhor his Republican values.
Monday, May 14, 2007
In the last five and a half years, Rudy Giuliani has profited enormously both financially and in stature from his stewardship of New York City during the terrible attacks of September 11th. The light shown on him from the press as it did for George Bush immediately following the tragedy. Since Bush has remained in the spotlight consistently until now, that surge in popularity has been erased and then some. Yet Rudy was mostly out of the picture until recently, so he kept up his favorable ratings.
Now that the harsh glare of the Presidential primary lens is upon him, the cracks in his veneer are beginning to show. "America's Mayor" is being called out by various groups affected by Rudy's leadership or lack thereof related to the aftermath of the terrorist attack. What is particularly dangerous to the candidate is how residents and rescue workers became ill from breathing the toxic air while Rudy did nothing about it.
From The New York Times:
An examination of Mr. Giuliani’s handling of the extraordinary recovery operation during his last months in office shows that he seized control and largely limited the influence of experienced federal agencies. In doing that, according to some experts and many of those who worked in the trade center’s ruins, Mr. Giuliani might have allowed his sense of purpose to trump caution in the rush to prove that his city was not crippled by the attack.
Administration documents and thousands of pages of legal testimony filed in a lawsuit against New York City, along with more than two dozen interviews with people involved in the events of the last four months of Mr. Giuliani’s administration, show that while the city had a safety plan for workers, it never meaningfully enforced federal requirements that those at the site wear respirators.
At the same time, the administration warned companies working on the pile that they would face penalties or be fired if work slowed. And according to public hearing transcripts and unpublished administration records, officials also on some occasions gave flawed public representations of the nature of the health threat, even as they privately worried about exposure to lawsuits by sickened workers.
The findings clearly show that Rudy cared more about making New York look pretty again to the detriment of those that cleaned up Ground Zero. Plenty of experts are ready to testify against Giuliani and his Administration for the way the situation was handled. There are also thousands of victims that can't breathe normally to this day. Some have even died as a result.
So if Rudy wants to run on an image that depicts him as tough on terror and a brave leader when faced with adversity, then he better be ready to pay the price when his demons come back to haunt him. His victims are ready to have their revenge on Rudy where it hurts him most. More importantly, with him being on such a stage, it might just set him up for a little bit of justice for the brave men and women that breathed the air of Lower Manhattan for far too long without the proper equipment.
Timmy practices a bit of intelligent journalism and catches McCain contradicting himself not once, but twice while on Meet The Press yesterday morning. McCain sees no problem saying one thing about Somalia yet completely switching his views for Iraq.
The story that Alberto Gonzales hoped would die continues to live on, sprouting new legs with Paul McNulty's resignation. Without mentioning the enduring crisis at the Justice Department, the Deputy U.S. Attorney cited family reasons for following Goodling and Sampson out the door. With the exception of die-hard Bush fans, no one is going to believe this had nothing to do with the scandal.
From the AP:
McNulty, who has served 18 months as the Justice Department's second-in-command, announced his plans at a closed-door meeting of U.S. attorneys in San Antonio. He told them he would remain at the department until late summer or until the Senate approves a successor, aides said.
He also sent a one-page letter of resignation to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose own job has been put in jeopardy by the firings and their aftermath.
"The financial realities of college-age children and two decades of public service lead me to a long overdue transition in my career," McNulty said in the letter, which did not mention the firings controversy.
It is possible that Gonzales' once-faithful underling could be the start of a massive shake-up within the Department in order to clean house for the eyes of Congress and the American people. However, no amount of house cleaning will ever be sufficient enough unless Alberto himself resigns...or if Congress gets the balls to start impeachment proceedings against the man that is most likely to be seen as the worst Attorney General this nation has ever seen.
Unfortunately for Gonzales, some aides at Justice admitted that family had nothing to do with McNulty's departure. The fact that he mentioned one of the fired attorneys left to make space for one of Karl Rove's friends. Paul also oversaw the 93 U.S. Attorneys and had a lot to do with the firing process.
Mitt seems to have abandoned his miserable positions and distanced himself from his Mormonism. Now he is leaning on his so-called good looks. He didn't have to say it personally, the campaign flier did all the talking. This ridiculous turn in Romney's campaign gives another example of GOP hypocrisy (see Republican attacks against John Edwards).
HOT OR NOT? A reliable G.O.P. source sends in this e-mail from "a colleague ... in Iowa" who "just went to see Mitt Romney speak. This is from her, and a piece of campaign literature she picked up at the event:His promotional flyer says, "In this media-driven age, Romney begins with a decisive advantage. First, he has sensational good looks. People magazine named him one of the 50 most beautiful people in America. Standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall, Romney has jet-black hair, graying naturally at the temples. Women -- who will play a critical role in this coming election -- have a word for him: hot."I don't even know where to begin. If Democratic campaign consultants can't figure out how to have a field day with this, they all ought to just hang up their cleats and go home. My source says this was definitely from campaign literature, not from someone's personal pro-Romney flyer project.
Romney's staff may not have written this garbage, but it is just as bad that they freely hand it out at campaign events. As Crooks and Liars pointed out, John Edwards was embarrassed about his top 50 award. Romney soaks it up. It isn't hard to see which candidate dwells on the superficial matters and the one that cares about a progressive policy to help heal the deep economic wounds that America has suffered for far too long. Besides, if Romney is going to lean on People Magazine for his candidacy, he is going nowhere fast.
The headline in the New York Post hints of outrageous pork barrel politics committed by the new and improved NY delegation to the House of Representatives. The article itself is much tamer and I am glad to see these projects getting done. Cleaning up the environment is serious business and if Federal Regulatory agencies are too weak to get things accomplished, then kudos to Congress for stepping up to the plate.
From The New York Post:
WASHINGTON - New York's newly powerful congressional delegation has snagged tens of millions' worth of pork projects to aid local rivers and streams - grabbing cash to clean up babbling brooks in Westchester and combat putrid smells near La Guardia Airport.
All of the projects were "earmarked" by individual lawmakers in a water-resources bill, which is moving through Congress in a process that critics say pours taxpayer dollars down the drain by putting decisions in the hands of legislators instead of agencies.
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens) got the feds to kick in $2.7 million to help flush Flushing Bay to improve the water quality near La Guardia Airport, where past practices have soiled a once-tranquil inlet.
Critics like those that the NY Post fails to cite do not mention how the EPA has gone down that drain a long time ago. If the agencies are ineffective then you need to find a better way to get the job done. You can call it pork, but if chemicals have destroyed part of the natural habitat of a particular district, it needs to get fixed. We have spent hundreds of billions on Iraq and nothing has been accomplished. So shelling out a few million dollars to improve water quality is a much smarter allocation of dollars.
I know that journalists are slipping these days but there is no need to send their jobs to India. It is bad enough technical and customer service positions are being relocated halfway across the world to cut costs. For local journalists to be replaced with people that don't even live in the town that they are reporting the news on is just plain ridiculous.
James Macpherson, editor and publisher of the two-year-old Web site pasadenanow.com, acknowledged it sounds strange to have journalists in India cover news in this wealthy city just outside Los Angeles.
But he said it can be done from afar now that weekly Pasadena City Council meetings can be watched over the Internet. And he said the idea makes business sense because of India's lower labor costs.
"I think it could be a significant way to increase the quality of journalism on the local level without the expense that is a major problem for local publications," said the 51-year-old Pasadena native. "Whether you're at a desk in Pasadena or a desk in Mumbai, you're still just a phone call or e-mail away from the interview."
No James, it is more than that. On the local level such as in Pasadena, reporters should live in the area, know the layout of the town both spatially and culturally and be able to communicate to their neighbors. That is absolutely impossible to do from Mumbai.
As can be seen in the CNN article, there are plenty of doubters because it is a stupid idea. A long time ago, the news was meant to inform, not to maximize profits of the companies that ran the news departments. It is time to take a step back and let people from Mumbai cover Mumbai, and Pasadena should do the same.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Republicans like Senator Graham waste no time telling outright lies to make Democrats look bad if they think it can help them with their degrading image in front of the American people. Graham tried to tell a whopper about Harry Reid this morning on CNN's Late Edition.
From Crooks and Liars:
BOXER: I don't know anyone who opposes this war that ever said our troops are losers. Our troopers are winners.
GRAHAM: Harry Reid did.
BOXER: Excuse me. He never said our troops are losers. Now, Lindsey, just be careful what you say. The bottom line here is, the losers are the ones who have, you know, engineered this war, made a huge mistake, Dick Cheney, we're in the last throes, the war will last six months, and all of you who have supported this escalation and have turned us away from fighting al Qaida into putting us in the middle of a civil war.
Boxer: "The loser is the Commander in Chief who has not lead our country well."
Thank god for Democrats like Barbara Boxer. Republicans can say just about anything that is false and misleading, so we need people that live in reality to set them straight. The losers are indeed Bush and his miscreants in Congress. The American people get that, now it is time for the small segment of the population that live in Washington to give up their miscreant ways and represent the people instead of the White House that is charging off the cliff.
Of course you can't put a price on a human being (even Dick Cheney's flesh and blood) but if they want to sell their memoirs you need to negotiate an amount. Well Mary Cheney's autobiography is only selling for a meager $0.07 on Amazon for a used copy. Obviously no one gives a damn about the controversial figure.
From Michael Petrelis:
It has been about a year since Mary Cheney, lesbian daughter of Vice President Cheney and his wife Lynne, and a tedious apologist for the Bush administration, published a boring book.
She was rumored to have received a large advance from the publisher, close to $1 million, but Cheney's book never found an audience either among the GOP base or in gay circles. Her memoir never hit any best-seller lists and it will probably be best remembered as her shameless grab for a fat check.
Unfortunately, many trees were felled for Cheney's book and you can now purchased the damn thing for a mere $0.07. That's seven cents, folks, for a used copy. A new one could set you back $1.89. Heck, it's going to cost more for shipping charges than the price of the book.
So a new copy will set you back for about the price of a medium coffee at Starbucks, my apologies. I agree with Michael, that book was a waste of paper and time, not to mention the huge hit her publisher took on her six figure advance. Can we finally forget the hunter's daughter now?
In one of the strangest turn of events the world has ever seen, arch-Conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch addressed climate change in a big way. He now wants his entire company to go green. He got himself a hybrid Lexus and is set to turn News Corp. carbon-neutral by 2010. That is an enormous amount of carbon reduction due to the massive size of his empire. It is great news of course, but what led this enemy of change to wake up to the world's reality?
From The UK Independent:
In one of the most unexpected conversions since Saul of Tarsus hit the road to Damascus, Rupert Murdoch is turning into a green campaigner. He is making the whole of his worldwide operations carbon neutral and setting out to "educate and engage" his readers and viewers about global warming.
He believes his companies' "global reach" presents "an unprecedented opportunity to raise awareness and to stimulate action around the world". A former sceptic who confesses to having been "somewhat wary of the warming debate", he laid on his first global webcast for all his employees on Wednesday to tell them that he was "changing the DNA of our business". He added that he had started with himself, buying a hybrid car.
Mr Murdoch's conversion, which may surprise employees like Jeremy Clarkson, was heavily influenced by his son James - who took BSkyB carbon neutral a year ago this week - as well as by Tony Blair and former US vice-president Al Gore. All three attended his annual meeting for senior executives in Pebble Beach, California, last year where he was convinced to take the lead on the issue.
Well if this is the new thing to do for media moguls, I am all for it. Murdoch is planning an array of solutions that help lessen the impact that News Corp. has on the environment. Everything from using recycled paper for books to producing TV programs that advocate a new way for society to combat the problem. The one thing that will be amusing to watch (if this really isn't just a dream) is the conversion of all Fox's conservative "journalists" going from spinning for neo-cons about the fate of the planet to speaking actual, dare I say it, truth.
The worst thing a politician could possibly do while in the Cheesehead state would be to diss the Green Bay Packers. The fact is they are a great team and have a had a lot of successful players over the years. I personally think that the public ownership of the team is an incredible and unique situation that really gets the crowd involved on a level that no other pro-team can compare to.
So what does Sam Brownback do that gets him completely blown out of the water (and not to mention Lambert Field)? He talks up Peyton Manning to the crowd and then it gets worse from there. It's okay to like your home team while running for national office but this is completely unacceptable.
From Yahoo News:
The GOP presidential hopeful drew boos and groans Friday at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention when he used a football analogy to talk about the need to focus on families.
"This is fundamental blocking and tackling," he said. "This is your line in football. If you don't have a line, how many passes can Peyton Manning complete? Greatest quarterback, maybe, in NFL history."
Oops, wrong team to mention in Wisconsin, once described by Gov. Tommy Thompson as the place "where eagles soar, Harleys roar and Packers score."
Thompson and Brownback may agree on some controversial issues but when it comes to Football Thompson knows his stuff, especially since he was Governor of the state. The situation became even worse for Sam when he mentioned Bart Starr. Once he finally got to Green Bay favorite Brett Favre, he had already sunk himself. Not only are his chances for the Republican nomination in the toilet, so are his hopes for being allowed in to watch a Packer game in Wisconsin.
Someone in Baltimore, Maryland broke the law recently by doing the world some good. A Rush Limbaugh billboard was vandalized by having tons of paint thrown all over that giant blown up face of his. The person that called it in to the Baltimore Sun was none other than a spokesman of the city's vandalism department charged with cleaning that stuff up.
From The Baltimore Sun:
In a town so tough that most murders get just a few paragraphs in the paper, somebody called The Sun about 8 a.m. yesterday with a tip about a vandalized billboard.
By noon, the story was all over the Internet, Rush Limbaugh was kicking off his national radio show with it, and City Hall was fielding calls from as far away as California. By 5 p.m., the story had become one of the three most popular individual articles in the history of the paper's Web site, with nearly 200,000 page views.
There's a reason the story had legs. The paint-splattered billboard featured Limbaugh's mug. And the tipster was a spokesman for a city agency - the one responsible for cleaning up graffiti - who let it be known that he was no "dittohead."
Although graffiti is usually a bad thing to condone, seeing a picture of Rush covered in paint has to one be the funniest things I have seen this weekend, save for Jane Fonda sitting on Colbert's lap and kissing him on his show. The billboard will be cleaned up eventually, but having the opportunity to get photos of the sign while it is still up is good enough for me.