Saturday, June 02, 2007

Remembering Steve Gilliard

The blogosphere mourns tonight for Steve Gilliard who passed tonight at the young age of 41. He founded The News Blog along with his own site with the blogspot address. He wrote brilliantly, tirelessly and courageously on a wide range of issues that touched his readers deeply. My condolences to his friends and family.

From The News Blog:

Steve Gilliard, 1966-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog (, passed away early this morning. He was 41.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

We will post more information as it becomes available to us.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us. We will miss him terribly.

- the news blog team

Meteor Blades at DailyKos also had a fitting memorial.

Saturday Cartoons

From Bob Geiger, a few of this week's stories in cartoon format:

How Do You "Cage" A Vote?

Monica Goodling referred to vote caging in her testimony to Congress last month, but no one really paid attention to it. Even Congresswoman Linda Sanchez asked Monica for a definition of the term. The press dug in for the dirt she laid out on Gonzales and McNulty but ignored this nugget. The Bush Administration was up to so many evil (and criminal) deeds that it is hard to keep up with them all.

From Slate Magazine:

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., asked Goodling to "explain what caging is," clarifying that she was unfamiliar with the term. Goodling fumbled around, muttered something about, "it's a direct-mail term, that people who do direct mail, when, when they separate addresses that may be good versus addresses that may be bad," then made sure to end with, "I don't … I believe that Mr. Griffin doesn't believe that he, that he did anything wrong there and there, there actually is a very good reason for it, for a very good explanation." Which explanation Goodling did not then provide.


Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren't living at (because they are, say, at college or at war). The Republican National Committee reportedly stopped the practice following a
consent decree in a 1986 case. Google the term and you'll quickly arrive at the Wizard of Oz of caging, Greg Palast, investigative reporter and author of the wickedly funny Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans—Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Palast started reporting allegations of Republican vote caging for the BBC's Newsnight in 2004. He's been almost alone on the story since then. Palast contends, both in Armed Madhouse and widely through the liberal blogosphere, that vote caging, an illegal voter-suppression scheme, happened in Florida in 2004 this way:

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and—you got to love this—American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

So we knew this was going down during the election but no one in the mainstream really reported on much about it. People like Greg Palast were all over it, but the only people that were paying attention to it were in the activist left.

Now we have a Republican operative who recently left the White House admitting that these crimes took place. Tim Griffin did a lot of work disenfranchising minority voters and was paid royally for it. He was even selected to replace one of the fired U.S. Attorneys. So all of these scandals merge together to create what we know as the corrupt Republican a nutshell.

A Vindicative Military

Somewhere in the army brass, there is a pathetic little human being that is obsessing over Adam Kokesh. Adam served honorably in Iraq and was discharged from the service accordingly. Now that he is an active part of the anti-war movement the military wants his discharge status changed. This has nothing to do with his actions as a Marine Sargeant. Protesting with his uniform on was their excuse, despite him not being an active member of the military.

From RawStory:

The March demonstration involved Kokesh and other vets performing mock patrols around the nation's capital to offer Americans a peek at what life is like in Iraq. Kokesh wore his Marine fatigues with his name, rank and Marine Corps insignia patches removed. The military told Kokesh that wearing the uniform violated Defense Department regulations, despite the fact that he had been honorably discharged from the service the previous year. Kokesh is still part of the Inactive Ready Reserve, which allows for discharged troops to be called back to service in case of an emergency.

Kokesh was informed via e-mail that he may be violating regulations, and he did not take the admonishment lightly. He responded to the officer who had sent the e-mail, advising him not to waste time on "such petty issues, (while) our fellow Marines continue to die in futility...."

"So no, I am not replying to your e-mail in order to acknowledge my understanding of my obligations and responsibilities," Kokesh wrote, " but rather to ask you to please, kindly, go fuck yourself."

Adam says as a Marine he doesn't pull punches and the military certainly got hit by him in his reply. He's right, the army does not need to waste their time with this matter. The fact that the Veterans of Foreign Wars is supporting his case against the military shows this has nothing to do with his conduct as a soldier.

Despite the letter's irritating effect on the officer who it was sent to, he should have just sucked it up and taken Kokesh's advice to concentrate on other matters. In the end, this is just going to be another black mark for the Pentagon. You would think they've had enough of them over the conduct of the war.

Mitt Romney's "Mormon Song"

Taking a hint from Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song," Andrew Reff helps Mitt Romney sing his own song about all the famous Mormons in our society. Perhaps this will convince a few Republican primary voters who hate the Tabernacle.

Laura Ingraham Makes A Fool Of Herself On CNN

Right-wing gas bags like Laura Ingraham can be quite amusing when they aren't trying to rip a person they disagree with to shreds. Yesterday morning she was on CNN talking about immigration. Laura attacked John Roberts by saying that CNN was part of the 'liberal media.' At first I thought he was going to laugh this off, but John defended his network and made her look like a nutcase.

From Crooks and Liars:

INGRAHAM: …But to insult his base, I mean, I hope he thinks he's going to be saved by the liberal elites at CNN, John, because if he is, then I'll be wrong about this. But I think it's kind of silly.

ROBERTS: Excuse me, what was that last comment?

INGRAHAM: By the way, John, how did you introduce me for this segment before the break. The outspoken Laura Ingraham. Do you guys introduce liberal commentators that way? I'm going to check.

ROBERTS: Yeah, we do actually.

She tried to pull a condescending laugh to save face, but it didn't work. That whole liberal media thing is a myth. If anything the press skews to the right but in this instance CNN calls activists outspoken regardless of party. It's strange she used this tiny little detail, probably because she would have to tell an even bigger lie to use a larger theme to prove her point.

1(900) RUN-GORE

I saw this on DailyKos last night and couldn't stop laughing. Maybe its my sick humor that finds a cross between a phone sex call and asking Al Gore to run for President, but I have a feeling there are a lot of other sick people out there. I would love to post this in its entirety, but I'll just provide a few choice excerpts.

From Zackpunk at DailyKos:

Gore: You've reached 1-900-RUN-GORE, where all your political fantasies come true.

Me: Hi. I... I've never really called one of these things before.

Gore: But you've wanted to for a long time, right?

Me: Yeah. I've been thinking about you. A lot. Is this really Al Gore?

Gore: (Pause.) Yes. Yes, it is.


Gore: What kind of party affiliation are you wearing?

Me: Progressive moderate.

Gore: I want you to take off your moderation. I want you to remove it completely.

Me: You want me to be totally progressive?

Gore: Yes, I want you to be stark liberal.


Me: I am. I'm going to be soooo progressive. But... I want to be progressive for you. I want you to run for president. Will you run for president for me?

Gore: I don't know if I should...

Me: Oh please, do it for me.

Gore: Okay. I'm going to do it.

Me: Yes! I knew you would!

Gore: I'm running for president. I'm doing it right now.

It might not be the way Gore should officially announce....but it's pretty damn funny.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Talks With PBS

PBS interviews Cindy Sheehan after she announced she quit the anti-war movement.

From PBS:

In a NOW on the News Web-exclusive audio interview from May 31, Cindy Sheehan tells NOW on PBS Host and Senior Editor David Brancaccio that she plans to rest up, spend time with her family, and then continue her struggle against the Iraqi war.

"We're going to pull back and regroup and figure out a better way to come at this," Sheehan told NOW.

Sheehan - whose son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, died in Iraq in 2004 - announced on Memorial Day that she was done being the public face of the movement. "I think my mission, my activism has reached a brick wall," she tells Brancaccio. Sheehan gained national attention when she camped outside President Bush's Texas ranch in August 2005 demanding to talk with the President.

Learn more at

A Cold, Callous And Clueless President

I've been harping on George Bush all day, but the stories just keep coming fast and furious and this one can't escape mentioning it. Several mothers of fallen soldiers went on NPR to talk about their experiences and one of them, Elaine Johnson, had quite the one-on-one with the President. It is another example of how truly, dare I say evil George Bush really is. Elaine was mostly neutral on the war until she met the President face to face. She asked him why we were there but couldn't get a straight answer.

From The Chicago Tribune:

"President Bush, he just didn’t see that, and he told me I was kind of, seemed like I was kind of hostile. I said, ‘yes I am hostile, because you sent my son over there.’ So my thing is -- all the questions that I asked him, he didn’t know nothing then, and he definitely don’t know nothing now, because the United States is in worser shape now that it was in 2003 that my son died.''

Martin asked: "So when you left that meeting did you leave with determination to do something or did that happen over time?''

Johnson said: "When he told me -- I said what’s, what’s the mission? He couldn’t give me an answer. I says, well I’m going to tell you what: I’m on my mission now. My mission had just begun. And my mission is to fight to bring these troops home, to take care of these troops when they get home.

"Then he gave us a presidential coin,'' she said. "Now you check this out: He gave six of us a presidential coin, tell us not to tell the rest of the people that was there, and then after that he told us don’t go sell it on eBay. Now you tell me how insensitive that can be? What kind of caring person is that?''

Who wouldn't be hostile after that? If I were a parent that lost a child in Iraq, only God would know what I'd do to him. Elaine is right, he does not care. There is no empathy for the troops, their grieving families or anything else that our nation holds dear. Cold, callous and clueless; and the worst President our country has ever seen.

Bush Goes Beserk, Thinks He's An Ape

It looks like all of that coke and booze over the years is finally taking its toll on the President. Despite his self-proclaimed sobriety, the President is starting to lose his marbles in private meetings with his friends. He is very determined to let people know he's the President (really?) and that he will do his best to make Iraq a huge mess for his successors. I know Gore said it is a waste of time to impeach him, but he really needs to

From The Dallas Morning News:

But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”

Wow, this man shouldn't be running a war, he should be locked up in a psych ward. Our country's destiny is to be stuck in Iraq for decades while our soldiers are picked off every damn day? Screw that and screw you.

Lessons In Lunacy: Hillary Fundraiser Delayed By A Coffin

Protester Steven Pierce made a big impact in the lives of Hillary and her supporters in Sacramento the other day. He placed an empty coffin on the side of the street near a private fundraiser, prompting the bomb squad to come out and investigate. After two hours of waiting in the street people paying to see Mrs. Clinton had to walk through brush to enter the house from the back. The event finally took place, but not before the local media got this footage:

McCain Campaign Scorns The Religious Right

In public John McCain has repeatedly tried to earn the respect of religious right leaders and their flocks. He ditched the 'maverick' status and went religious, attending ceremonies at Liberty University and wavered on his more moderate social policies such as abortion. Many independents distanced themselves from the Senator while the fundies didn't really move much closer to him.

Now it turns out that all of that posturing was for show. The nuts and bolts of the campaign tells a story that paints McCain as a politician that simply uses the religious right (like George Bush) for votes while not doing much at all for their core issues.

From U.S. News and World Report:

Two former aides hired to spearhead religious outreach for presidential candidate John McCain say that they were virtually ignored by the campaign and that McCain's top campaign strategists are intent on winning votes of religious voters without having to develop serious ties to faith communities. The aides, who were fired in early April after roughly three months on the job, said the campaign staff declined to return scores of their phone calls and E-mail messages, denied them access to leaders of the McCain campaign, and pressed them to collect church directories—a controversial tactic—as the centerpiece of a strategy to woo "values" voters.

"In the end, you came away with the strong sense that they had contempt for the faith-based community," says Marlene Elwell, one of those fired staffers. Elwell, a prominent Christian-right activist, was hired by McCain in December 2005 to be national director of his "Americans of Faith" coalition. "The way we were being treated it was as if we had leprosy."

McCain expected great results without doing any hard work for the conservative Christian vote. Now he is paying the price for that. George Bush got away with it for the most part but the religious right is getting tired of being used by candidates that talk a lot without doing much action.

The whole story pieced together is actually quite amusing. McCain panders to the right with meaningless political stunts, including hiring the religious outreach staffers. The right is still skeptical and rightly so, as the new staffers are treated as lepers. A series of mistakes due to McCain's image problems results in a drop in the polls, followed by a drop in donations and ultimately the need to cut back staff led to the religious outreach people's dismissal.

Now the story comes full circle when the staffers broke their anonymity and went to the press with what went down inside the McCain campaign. The result? McCain gets more bad news and continues to lose hope for a comeback in the Presidential primary.

RNC Fires The Wrong People For Their Fundraising Problem

Sixty five-people were abruptly fired from their jobs as phone-bankers at the Republican National Committee last week. Anne Hathaway oversaw the project at the RNC and confirmed the event after the former workers went to the press. The RNC maintains that the program was canceled due to outdated phone-banking technology but the staffers don't believe it.

The real problem was the precipitous drop in small-donor donations. Staffers estimate donations are down 40 percent this year and is primarily due to the President's controversial stance on the immigration debate. Many conservative donors want their President to back up their xenophobic tendencies with actions, while George wants to keep his friends supplied with cheap labor. The difference in opinions is hurting George's party where it hurts, in the wallet.

From The (sometimes credible) Washington Times:

Fired employees acknowledged that the committee's phone equipment was outdated, but said a sharp drop-off in donations "probably" hastened the end of the RNC's in-house phone-bank operation.

"Last year, my solicitations totaled $164,000, and this year the way they were running for the first four months, they would total $100,000 by the end of 2007," said one fired phone bank solicitor who asked not to be identified.

There has been a sharp decline in contributions from RNC phone solicitations, another fired staffer said, reporting that many former donors flatly refuse to give more money to the national party if Mr. Bush and the Senate Republicans insist on supporting what these angry contributors call "amnesty" for illegal aliens.

"Everyone donor in 50 states we reached has been angry, especially in the last month and a half, and for 99 percent of them immigration is the No. 1 issue," said the former employee.

The RNC denies all of this of course but it does not matter. The story shows that there is a lot of discord within the party and all over the conservative landscape. The fact that the highly dubious Washington Times would publish this shows their discontent with the President.

Reverend Moon's publication takes substantial losses every year in order to keep conservative propaganda alive and well within the District of Columbia. So when they are going against Bush, you know there is trouble in the ranks.

George Bush Hears The Voices

Here's a great little spoof from YouTube land that makes the President sound like more of an idiot than he already does. It doesn't take much work to show the President to be a bumbling fool, but this is worth a couple minutes of your time.

Environmental Bushshit

George W. Bush has to be one of the worst Presidents and current world leader when it comes to being a steward of the environment. From the very beginning of his term he failed to sign the Kyoto Protocol, then went on to allow the oil industry and other polluters free range to take huge profits at the expense of our planet. Recently he scoffed at a European plan to tackle climate change, opting to have his own plan to deal with the problem. Of course in typical Bush style, what he advocates for is utter crap that does nothing to help save our environment.

From Yahoo News:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -

President George W. Bush
's plan to tackle climate change merely restates U.S. policy which has been ineffective in the past in cutting emissions blamed for global warming, the EU's environment chief said on Friday.

"The declaration by President Bush basically restates the U.S. classic line on climate change -- no mandatory reductions, no carbon trading and vaguely expressed objectives," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said, according to his spokeswoman.

"The U.S. approach has proven to be ineffective in reducing emissions," Dimas added of Bush's call on Thursday for 15 major countries to agree by 2008 on a long-term goal for cutting emissions.

The European has been onto Bush's empty promises for quite a while now and it was easy to pick apart this latest attempt to look good on the international stage. The reality is that Europe is cutting their emissions while the United States increases at alarming rates.

We are well aware of our problem in the White House as well. Along with some die-hard deniers like Senator Inhofe, these Republicans will continue to deny the effects of climate change and man's contribution to it so long as the money keeps coming in from oil lobbyist and similar ilk.

Conservatives Gear Up To Fight Giuliani

The conservative backlash to Rudy Giuliani's campaign was inevitable and now it is upon us. The forces that helped bring the demise of Harriet Miers and the oh-so honorable Swift-boaters are back to take on the presumed front-runner for the Republican nomination. These groups are angered by his socially moderate stances on abortion, support of regulating handguns and favoring rights for homosexuals. All of these things are terrible to conservatives such as Paul Nagy, who is a leader in the fight to have someone of his ilk run as the Republican nominee.

From The Huffington Post:

The early success of Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid has provoked a groundswell of opposition from disparate forces including conservative Catholics, remnants of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaigns and regional political operatives seeking to break into the Republican firmament.

The opposition is united in its determination to block Giuliani, a supporter of abortion rights and gay rights, from becoming the GOP's standard bearer. But lurking just beneath the surface is another motive for these anti-Giuliani conservatives: cash. The groups hope to benefit from a large constituency of donors willing to write big checks to bring down the former New York Mayor City mayor. The donors include backers of Giuliani's competitors as well as ideologues of the right.

The new organizations are relying on two fundraising models, both of which were highly successful in previous attacks. One is the drive in 2005 to force White House counsel Harriet Miers to withdraw her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. That campaign, spearheaded by conservatives opposed to Miers, raised an estimated $2 million. The other is the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign in 2004, which began with a modest budget but ended up raising millions in an effort to destroy Kerry's reputation as a war hero.

So the goal for these guys is to enrich themselves while supporting their extreme causes (or what goes for mainstream in today's Republican party). The Swiftboaters did an excellent job of that three years ago while attacking John Kerry with lies and distortion. Paul Nagy and company must have figured they can get their piece of the pie almost a year and a half away from the Presidential election.

They should be able to find a large loyal audience and pool of support amongst their ranks. Plenty of conservatives want to see their dreams of a Christian theocracy realized as they hoped for under Bush. If the Republicans hold onto the Presidency, the religious right wants someone who is socially conservative, not just fiscally.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

They Hate Us For Our Miss America

Giuliani likes to echo President Bush's talking points about why so many people and terrorists hate America these days. The two of them (and a whole host of pundits and elected officials) say that they hate us for our freedoms. Well the newest right-wing talking point is going to be that they hate us for Miss America. The evidence? The audience at the Miss Universe competition, where the crowd booed Miss America Rachel Smith. The Young Turks talk about it (skip ahead to the 2:30 min mark to catch the relevant material).

Dishonoring The Dead

Each soldier that falls in battle, regardless of where and when should be honored with dignity. Each soldier deserves their own memorial for their ultimate sacrifice and the loss for the families. Soldiers were honored individually at Fort Lewis but now they will join a growing number of bases that have mass ceremonies. The reason for this is due to the large increase in soldiers killed who were based out of the fort.

From The Olympian:

Fort Lewis, which this month has suffered its worst losses of the war, will no longer conduct individual memorial ceremonies for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, the post will hold one ceremony for all soldiers killed each month, the Fort Lewis acting commanding general, Brig. Gen. William Troy, wrote in a memo to commanders and staff last week.

“As much as we would like to think otherwise, I am afraid that with the number of soldiers we now have in harm’s way, our losses will preclude us from continuing to do individual memorial ceremonies,” Troy wrote in the memo, according to a copy obtained by United for Peace Pierce County and posted on the group’s Web site. A post spokesman confirmed the policy change Tuesday. It will start in June.

The Fort has lost 124 soldiers in the last five years of war, with 16 just this month. I see no reason why they cannot do individual services despite the increase in those that have fallen. Shame on William Troy for changing the policy and even more for the architects of this failed war. The President and the military do not support the troops while they are alive and fighting. Now they will not even honor them after they have died, leaving a trail of mourning families that Bush and his warmongers cast aside.

A Violent Superpower

As the world's only superpower (for now at least) we have been a terrible example to be followed when it comes to peace. An index was created based on two dozen indicators including arms sales, the amount of wars a country is involved with and violent crimes. The United States currently ranks 96th out of 121 countries. To cite a comparison, Iran was 97th and Yemen was at number 95. Most of the countries at the top of the list were in Europe.

I honestly thought we would be lower than that, so I guess not being dead last is a good thing. With the amount of arms sales, over 11,000 handgun deaths every year, having troops in dozens of countries across the globe and fighting at least two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) officially, there is a lot there to justify being placed at the bottom. Of course when you think about it, Russia is far worse, being named #118 and Iraq (obviously) is at the very bottom.

O'Reilly And McCain: Fighting to Keep WASP Power

John McCain was one of Bill O's guests on his show last night and O'Reilly wanted to talk about immigration. He expressed his fear about people coming across the border (in search of a better life) and how he thought McCain was doing too much to allow immigrants to come to the U.S. He let his guard down (at the 5 min mark) and said exactly why he is so afraid of the immigration from Latin America.

Combating Predatory Lenders

The problem of predatory lending has been widespread across the country and particularly here in New York. Over 4000 foreclosures that are linked to the practice were discovered in Brooklyn alone. Senator Schumer recently spoke out about the need for change but we need action and not just words. Well the New Yorkers for Responsible Lending have come up with a model bill for the Legislature to enact.

From the DMI Blog:

* The law is enforceable by the NYS Attorney General, Banking Superintendent, or any party to a loan covered by the law.
* Actual and statutory damages may be awarded; statutory damages shall be $5,000 per violation or two times actual damages (whichever is greater). Injunctive relief to stop unlawful practices, as well as declaratory and other equitable relief as the court deems appropriate, may be granted. The court may award reasonable attorneys' fees to a prevailing borrower.
* The loan transaction may be rescinded if the lender is found to have violated prohibitions against making unaffordable loans and/or negative amortization loans.
* Borrowers may assert defenses against loan purchasers ("assignees") that they could assert against the original lender.
* The law includes good faith exceptions. No violation of the law shall be found if the lender:
* Notifies the borrower of the compliance error and provides and an opportunity to cure, within 30 days of making the loan; or
* Can show that it failed to comply with the law because of bona fide error.

And those are just the remedies, click on the link for the full list of what the bill would do. Now the only thing is to get the bill into action and passed by our Legislature. Will New York's Statehouse do what is necessary to help it's citizens that have been victimized by predatory lenders? Time will only tell. So make sure to let your own representative know how important this issue is.

DeMint Is A Disgrace

Senator Jim DeMint is now in the minority of the U.S. Senate, but that hasn't stopped him from continuing the Republican strategy of attacking Democrats far outside the lines of human decency. DeMint called Democrats "wimps," zeroing in on Harry Reid for supposedly declaring defeat in Iraq. He also mentioned that it is the fault of Democrats for the high level of mayhem and chaos in Iraq. Basically, the guy has completely flipped his lid.

From The State:

During a luncheon speech to 100 constituents in Spartanburg, DeMint also took issue with the now widespread belief that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, saying the executed Iraqi dictator had “stockpiles of chemical weapons” that still exist.

DeMint devoted most of his comments to the current immigration debate in the Senate. But he spoke about the war when a woman in the audience stood and asked him how long U.S. troops will remain in Iraq.

“Al-Qaida knows that we’ve got a lot of wimps in Congress,” DeMint said. “I believe a lot of the casualties can be laid at the feet of all the talk in Congress about how we’ve got to get out, we’ve got to cut and run.”

DeMint must clearly be off his rocker if he thinks that statements made in Washington can be attributed to the rising death tolls of our troops and civilians in Iraq. He clearly has no idea about what is going on and the complexities that drive the situation. Let me explain it in a nutshell. The Sunnis and Shias are fighting it out to the death for Baghdad (with many different groups on each side), the Kurds want their own turf in the north and almost everyone wants us out of there. It isn't because the Democrats are expressing the will of most Americans, it is because they want to deal with their own country.

A full explanation would require a novel, so if DeMint wants to learn everything about Iraq's past and present that would be fantastic. Of course he would rather play the politics of fear so he can manipulate any susceptible constituent out there. Like those willing to ascribe to his games, DeMint is clearly demented.

Going Back To Baghdad

After leaving the city of chaos, Ausama finds his hometown to be even farther on the path to total destruction than when he left:

Questions For Lieberman Go Unanswered

On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Joe Lieberman (CT for Lieberman-CT) was scheduled to meet some of our troops in Baghdad over a lunch of roast beef and turkey sandwiches. The 'lucky' soldiers picked to dine with the Senator were bombarded with questions from their fellow troops to be asked of Mr. Lieberman. It is doubtful that any of these touched Joe's fragile ears.

From McClatchy:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Spc. David Williams, 22, of Boston, Mass., had two note cards in his pocket Wednesday afternoon as he waited for Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Williams serves in the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., the first of the five "surge" brigades to arrive in Iraq, and he was chosen to join the Independent from Connecticut for lunch at a U.S. field base in Baghdad.

The night before, 30 other soldiers crowded around him with questions for the senator.

He wrote them all down. At the top of his note card was the question he got from nearly every one of his fellow soldiers:

"When are we going to get out of here?"

The rest was a laundry list. When would they have upgraded Humvees that could withstand the armor-penetrating weapons that U.S. officials claim are from Iran? When could they have body armor that was better in hot weather?

Since Lieberman left that luncheon spouting the same old GOP talking points, it is highly unlikely Joe was asked the tough questions. Even if he did, he wouldn't bother giving the soldiers a second thought. The event was a press event for Joe to use our troops as a backdrop to his support for the war. He wore his flak jacket and helmet around Baghdad while a massive force was called up to defend his high-priority-target ass. Then he got the hell out of there, leaving the men to be shot at while they drive around Baghdad. Those aren't just my words, they are the thoughts of the very soldiers interviewed for the article above.

Southampton Bans First Amendment

Suffolk County is officially within the boundaries of the United States, but one of its exclusive towns wants to distance itself from our founding fathers and the First Amendment that they drafted to the Constitution. Free speech is a cherished protection afforded to people in our country but Southampton begs to differ when protesters do not look and sound as the people and the messages that are similar to them.

From 1010 WINS:

Officials in this swanky village on eastern Long Island, apparently fed up with anti-day laborer protesters gathering in front of the mayor's house, have passed a local law making it illegal to demonstrate at a private home or on any residential street.

The move follows nearly two months of protests in front of Mayor Mark Epley's home after he suggested allowing day laborers to gather in a village-owned park near a convenience store. The day laborers, many of whom are suspected of being in the country illegally, stand near the site every morning waiting for contractors, landscapers and construction workers to hire them at hourly wages for the day.


An attorney for the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Donna Lieberman, said she was concerned about the blanket nature of the ban. She said the First Amendment protects all speech, whatever the message.

"It's very dangerous,'' she said, "when government tries to promulgate rules to silence an entity whose message is unpopular or for the convenience ... of any individual.''

The new law carries a fine and possible jail time for the "crime" of protesting. If Mayor Epley and the city council out there think they are going to get away with this, they have another thing coming. This attempt at eroding our Constitution has no place in Suffolk County, New York or anywhere in the United States of America. We are better than this type of abrogation of our nation's laws.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is The 110th Congress Good For Business?

In my opinion it is far superior to the 109th, but Congress still has a long way to go to even-out the playing field so that the only winners in our society aren't corporations. CNBC had a debate today with a panel of economic pundits from CATO, Center for American Progress and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Sci-Fi National Security

The Homeland Security Department must be pretty nervous about their ability to protect our country from terrorist attacks. The latest group to be enlisted on the War on TerrorTM is a consortium of science fiction writers who have a talent to look towards the future. The supposed benefit is that their ideas might just become the next method for our adversaries to attack America.

From USAToday:

"We'll play 'What if?' with anything," says Sage Walker, an emergency medicine physician turned sci-fi writer and the only woman in the group. She says the discussions with government officials "tend to be very intense and far-ranging."

So are discussions between the writers. During a coffee break at the conference, Walker, Bear and Andrews started talking about the government's bomb-sniffing dogs. Within minutes, they had conjured up a doggie brain-scanning skullcap that could tell agents what kind of explosive material a dog had picked up.

The 9/11 Commission called the 2001 terrorist attacks a result of the government's "failure of imagination." For this group, Walker says, there's no such thing as an "unthinkable scenario."

It is nice to see people thinking about how we might combat future terrorism attacks. Counter-intelligence is a diverse business and enlisting these writers (with advanced technical degrees of course) might actually inform our government and create policy for whatever may come our way.

However, flying planes into buildings wasn't an unknown. In fact, the government knew about the plan. The President was briefed on it a month before September 11th. Instead of acting on the information George Bush sat on his ass in Crawford and did nothing. So even if these sci-fi guys conceptualize the next attack, who knows if anything will be done to prevent another tragedy?

Some Adulterous Behavior Is Better Than Others

Tom DeLay, former Majority Leader and master hypocrite is up to his usual antics in a highly unusual way. He spoke up about adultery the other day, both about his own, Bill Clinton's and the Speaker of the House at the time, Newt Gingrich. He proclaims that his adultery wasn't as bad as Newt's while the impeachment proceedings were going on because he wasn't having an affair at the time. Well Tom, in that case, I guess you are the better man (*cough, cough*).

From The New Yorker:

In the book, DeLay criticizes Gingrich for, among other things, conducting an affair with a Capitol Hill employee during the 1998 impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. (The woman later became Gingrich’s third wife.) “Yes, I don’t think that Newt could set a high moral standard, a high moral tone, during that moment,” DeLay said. “You can’t do that if you’re keeping secrets about your own adulterous affairs.” He added that the impeachment trial was another of his “proudest moments.” The difference between his own adultery and Gingrich’s, he said, “is that I was no longer committing adultery by that time, the impeachment trial. There’s a big difference.” He added, “Also, I had returned to Christ and repented my sins by that time.”

In fact, DeLay speaks of Gingrich with undisguised contempt. “He’s got this new shtick now—‘solutions,’ he calls it, like government is the new solution. Government isn’t the solution; it’s the problem.” DeLay smiled. “Did you see that he had a love match with John Kerry on global warming?” he said. “That’s not going to help him with the Presidential race.”

Well, well. As long as you have returned to Christ, then that makes it all okay (in your own mind). Even now that he is out of the House, under indictment and promoting a pathetic little book, the man cannot stop being his hypocritical self. Newt may not be able to set any kind of moral tone, but that does not give DeLay the right to criticize him without atoning for his own misdeeds. The fact is they are both amoral Republican scumbags....and that pretty much sums it up.

Highlights From Gore's Speech Yesterday

Al Gore has been touring the country to promote his new book, "An Assault on Reason." He was in New York before the holiday and in Washington, D.C. last night. The speech lasted for over half an hour, but PoliticsTV has been kind enough to put the highlights together in under eight minutes. It is well worth your time.

Loitering Is Free Speech

A Supreme Court decision in 1992 deemed loitering and begging a right provided for in the first amendment of the bill of rights. Despite that ruling, hundreds of the less fortunate among us have been arrested for their (in)activity. Eric Hoffstead is now fighting his arrest and his lawyer, Carl D. Birman and now Matthew D. Brinckerhoff are trying to turn the case into a class-action suit. Nearly 800 summons have been issued from June of 2005 to February of 2007, using considerable city resources in order to do so.

From The New York Times:

The United States Supreme Court has struck down several loitering statutes, but it has never considered the particular issue of loitering for the purpose of begging, and whether prohibiting it constitutes a violation of the First Amendment, said Michael C. Dorf, professor of constitutional law at the Columbia University School of Law.

In upholding the 1992 New York City case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said begging constituted “protected communicative conduct, and city streets and parks were classified as a traditional public forum.”

“A lawyer is certainly entitled to make the argument that the lower federal courts have ruled the law unconstitutional and tell the state it should be persuaded by this ruling,” Professor Dorf said. “The state, however, is free to issue a decision based on its own interpretation of the Constitution.”

So even with the U.S. Supreme Court decision, the matter is up in the air here in New York. The state contends that these misdemeanors are often accompanied by other crimes, such as Mr. Hoffstead having possessed a crack cocaine pipe at the time.

Instead of using this as an excuse to put the homeless in jail, the situation is evidence that the problem of loitering and begging needs to be dealt with in a more productive manner. It has often been shown that treating and rehabilitating the thousands of people on the streets is more cost efficient from a budgetary perspective. More importantly, it is better from a humanitarian perspective.

The Terrorists In Your Living Room

We usually think of terrorists as those that want to create terror through their actions. Although the word is usually applied to rogue groups such as Al-Qaeda, the I.R.A. and Hezbollah, nation-states can also be terrorizing when they shock and awe cities with their warplanes and missiles. In Alabama, if you have a cause you are fighting for you might be a terrorist. From abortion opponents to gay rights activists, these groups are being tracked by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security.

From The Washington Post:

The site included the groups under a description of what it called "single-issue" terrorists. That group includes people who feel they are trying to create a better world, the Web site said. It said that in some communities, law enforcement officers consider certain single issue groups to be a threat.

"Single-issue extremists often focus on issues that are important to all of us. However, they have no problem crossing the line between legal protest and ... illegal acts, to include even murder, to succeed in their goals," it read.

Walker said the site had been up since spring 2004, and had gotten a relatively small number of hits until it recently became the subject of blogs, he said.

Birmingham attorney Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro Life Coalition, said he was concerned about any list that described people doing social justice work as terrorists.

The website that displayed this information is now down, but who knows if it still exists on their intra-website. Like the NYPD who tracked GOP Convention protesters, this is another example of state security that borders on the obscene.

What will the government do with information on people that want a clean environment or equality the GLBT community? Will the Bush Administration set up a group of Brownshirts and SS guards next to combat these people that like to practice the First Amendment? Toss them in jail and throw away the key to prevent them from speaking truth?

More Fox News Spin

This time they try to play down surging gasoline prices, saying that it really is no big deal. What planet do these people come from?

Wingnuts Misinformation Campaign Continues

The right-wing apparatus relies on lies to keep itself afloat. Spreading fear (even if untrue) is what they do best and it has helped them report on news that really isn't based on fact. Their latest gaffe came from an anonymous right-wing blogger named "Ace of Spades." He/she claimed that ex-CIA Larry Johnson's report on the food supply for our troops was wrong because the document he relied on was a fake.

Ace relied on document 'expert' Charles Johnson to prove his assertion. A pdf examination proved to them that the document was false. So once Ace and Johnson got rolling, so did their counterparts throughout right-wing blog land.

From Glenn Greenwald:

The sea of right-wing blog followers then washed ashore, with one proclamation after the next like these:

** "Hi-larious Ratheresque hijinx on the part of Larry Johnson, ex-CIA moron, discussed by Ace."

** "The Has-Been Media is also incredibly stupid and easily fooled, so long as they can advance their political agenda . . . Check out the link to the memo. It's laughable.

** This is hilarious. Seems Super Duper Spook Larry (Plame Flame) Johnson got duped by a faked intel memo.

Needless to say, the memo is authentic. And some of the accusers are slowly starting to admit it (with no apologies to Johnson or The Washington Post for impugning their integrity, from what I have seen).

Leave it to the wingnut o'sphere to screw up another story. Not that this is any big surprise, there have been plenty of other ridiculously false stories debunked by those of us that reside in reality. It is unfortunate that the Washington Post actually picks up their garbage even with the lack of credibility that is out there, from Little Green Footballs to Michelle Malkin. When will they wake up and see how the right will use any means to try and combat the detractors of the war to protect George Bush.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dealing With Corruption, Chinese Style

China is a constant human rights violator, at a rate that the Bush Administration is probably envious of, China kills and tortures its dissidents and lawbreakers at will. The latest man to be sentenced to death was a corrupt government official who approved dangerous drugs to be sold commercially. Imagine that happening in the U.S.? Here people get rewarded with cushy jobs for approving dangerous drugs, not executed.

From the AP:

BEIJING (AP) -- China's former top drug regulator was sentenced to death Tuesday in an unusually harsh punishment for taking bribes to approve substandard medicines, including an antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths.

Seeking to address broadening concerns over food, the government also announced plans for its first recall system for unsafe products.

The developments are among the most dramatic steps Beijing has taken to address domestic and international alarm over shoddy and unsafe Chinese goods - from pet food ingredients and toothpaste mixed with induso trial chemicals to tainted antibiotics.

Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court convicted Zheng Xiaoyu of taking bribes in cash and gifts worth more than $832,000 while he was director of the State Food and Drug Administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Those bribes allowed eight companies to get around drug approval standards, it said.

His crimes are serious, that is not in doubt. However I think the death penalty is just a wee bit harsh. Perhaps China and the United States can find a middle ground between what the Communist nation does and how America lets our corrupt officials off with a handshake for a job well done.

Michael Moore On Hillary Health Care

After Michael Moore's SICKO debut at Cannes Film Festival, Harvey Weinstein and Moore sat down to talk about Hillary Clinton. Moore admired her back in the 1990s but now she seems to him to be another part of the problem.

Mayor Wolfowitz

Now that Paulie is being kicked out of the World Bank at the end of June, he is going to need to have something to do. Although he doesn't need anymore money than the neo-conservative establishment has thrown his way, that hasn't stopped antiwar Republican Walter Jones from offering him some advice. Since Paul helped craft the policy that led us into Iraq, why shouldn't he go and try to manage it himself?

From The Blotter:

Paul Wolfowitz may have been ousted from his post at the World Bank, but a free-speaking GOP lawmaker haLinks an idea to keep the so-called "architect" of the Iraq War from standing in the unemployment line.

"I would like to suggest...that maybe we give Paul Wolfowitz a new job and send him over [to Iraq] as mayor," said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., "since the neocons got us in over there."

As deputy secretary of defense from 2000 to 2005, Wolfowitz helped develop the strategy and public rationale for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He publicly stated that coalition troops would be greeted as liberators, and the nation of Iraq would be largely capable of financing its own rebuilding through oil revenues.

We are known as occupiers, not liberators; and the relatively cost-free war has cost us nearly half a trillion dollars. Perhaps Wolfowitz can go in and tackle all of the pressing business of Baghdad. His dreams of a post war Iraq are as likely as finding an oasis in the Sahara, let alone the deserts of Iraq. So the quest of victory should be his to take on and seek out. Let the troops go home to their families and let the neo-con kook handle it himself. Not a bad idea Congressman Jones.

Matt Drudge Desperately Needs A Mirror

Pseudo-journalist Matt Drudge took it upon himself to lambast Keith Olbermann on his radio show Sunday. What for you ask? The alleged phoniness of Keith's show and the operation over at MSNBC. Drudge dove into the attack after talking about the Venezuelan government shutting down a private radio station. What Hugo Chavez did was wrong, but how that connects to Keith, only the complicated mind of Matt Drudge knows that one.

From ThinkProgress:

DRUDGE: When we start hearing that the National Guard is seizing television stations, alright then I’m on board. Then I’m on board, Olbermann. Until then, it’s all pancake, makeup, and Edward R. Murrow good night and good luck and all… you know. Camp. Camp! That’s the right word to describe what’s being peddled over there at MSNBC. Complete and utter camp.

OLBERMANN (voice over): “Good night and good luck.”

DRUDGE: And some people are taking it seriously because they think it’s on TV so it has to be real. Please. And then they take off the hair, they take off the teeth, and they peel the face off — and then it’s you know, it’s all this phony — phony lights, phony music, and everything there.

I think Drudge is starting to lose it. Since he can't get anymore scoops these days (at least not anything credible) he is lashing out at anyone who calls him on his crap. Fox pulled his own TV show a long time ago and must be jealous that Countdown is doing so well. Hey Matt, maybe that has something to do with Keith telling the truth while you just make most of your sh*t up.

Fictional Museum, A Place For The Deluded

If you believe in the literal interpretation of the bible and the Natural History Museum in your city bothers you with archaeological fact then there is a place for you now. The Creation Museum is opening its doors to the fundamentalists and curiosity seekers that want to see dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden and riding on Noah's Ark. I'm sure Noah felt safe with that Velociraptor on the boat for forty days and nights.

Green Ferries In NYC

With all the news on New York and the environment, things are looking way up for the city. The latest piece of good news comes from the waterways. Since the Industrial Revolution, pollution-causing boats have been in the rivers and New York harbor emitting carbon monoxide into the water. Now that might be a thing of the past. The first solar and wind powered ferry is going to make it's debut with a Circle Line logo next year.

From 1010 WINS:

The electric ferry uses a "solar sail'' covered in solar panels that collect energy from the sun and wind.

Officials said it emits almost no noise, vibration or fumes, reducing water pollution and air emissions.

The green ferry, called Miss Statue of Liberty, will be able to reach a maximum speed of 13 knots and seat up to 600 passengers.

At a cost of under 10 million, this ferry will be a great contribution to the transit system of the tri-state area and a wonderful piece of clean technology that will help improve the water quality of our waterways. I can't wait to ride it when I have to shlep my tourist friends down to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Tensions Explode In Hillary's Camp

Being a Senator of New York but living in Washington has its challenges as does many elected officials who represent areas far from D.C. When you compound a Presidential race on top of that, things can get tricky and often messy. That is exactly what happened with Hillary and her staff. The D.C. crowd can have over-inflated egos I hear, which in turn can anger locals when the Beltway Boys and Girls leave district on their campaign field trips.

From The New York Post:

"Her New York crew is fighting like hell with her D.C. folks, and it's worse than the normal stuff, real serious tensions," said a Democratic Party source. "The New York folks are the ones who got her elected to begin with. They've done it and know what to do. The D.C. folks are the 'geniuses' who do 'national elections' and think everyone here is a rube.

"The Washington types hold meeting after meeting and then send a group of fatheaded 27-year-olds to do events in New York, and they wind up fighting with her staff here," continued the source, who is in day-to-day contact with party activities.

The source said the tensions exploded at Clinton's endorsement event with Gov. Spitzer and other high-ranking Democrats earlier in the month at the Capitol. "The New York locals were incensed that so many of these outsider kids were sent in from Washington and they were trying to run the event and they couldn't even make a contribution to it."

It is true, D.C. staffers tend to think they are better than others who work the political field no matter where they go. I saw it plenty of times working local elections when I used to live in Tucson. Getting on the "Advance" staff is a hard thing to do and is generally reserved for the well-connected. So ego can definitely find its way into the heads of the young people that get these positions.

Locals always know what they are doing on their own turf. That is just common sense. If the regulars in New York helped her get elected to the Senate, you can bet they know their game. So if Hillary wants a smooth operation, she better get her top campaign staff to allow the D.C. people to do D.C. things and let the locals handle theirs. It works that way in any national race, not just Hillary's.

Escaping Chaos

Saif, featured in a series of "Hometown Baghdad" clips has finally made it out of Baghdad and into the loving arms of his family already in Amman. Glad to hear he made it out, yet still sad for the millions that remain.

Cindy Sheehan, You Will Be Missed

Cindy Sheehan became an icon of the peace movement after her son Casey was killed in Iraq. Almost immediately she was attacked by Republicans as being a fringe lunatic that was in it for publicity. She was also accused as being a tool for the Democratic party. However as she went on her quest for peace, the large following became too much for one grieving woman. The fractured and divisive peace movement beat on her spirit even as they cheered her on.

Then she spoke out against Democrats for failing to do their part on the war and for that she was shunned by both sides on the left-right spectrum. She increasingly became marginalized as people spewed partisan hatred at this poor woman. Of course not everyone did this, but the damage was enough to put peace far out of our reach. She spoke truth about Democratic leaders and was proven right as we saw many of them cave to the Bush Administration last week. So Cindy decided today to call it quits and go back to a more private life.

From her GBCW (GoodBye Cruel World) diary:

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a “tool” of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our “two-party” system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”

Her sentiments are right on, this is a moral issue and unfortunately the politics of the matter have kept us in this war despite one woman's efforts. She is a true patriot and devoted mother in her mission to not have her son die in vain. It is a shame that all of that hard work has done next to nothing in accomplishing what we need to have done, bring peace to our country.

Sure the national conversation has changed, people are against the war now so that is something. Yet our soldiers keep dying (4 a day so far this month) and even more civilians are slaughtered in the cities and towns of Iraq. This has to be remedied and soon, though it does not look like Cindy will be able to see it through. That amazing soul of her needs to rest after the beating it has taken. Godspeed Cindy!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Teletubbies On The Attack Again

Jerry Falwell isn't able to keep up the struggle against those happy and cuddly creatures anymore. But an official in the Poland government picked up the cause today in his stead. The teletubby controversy was thought to have died along with the good Reverend, though that does not seem to be the case anymore.


In comments reminiscent of criticism by the late U.S. evangelist Jerry Falwell, she was quoted as saying: "I noticed (Tinky Winky) has a lady's purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy."

"At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby ... Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone."

Poland's rightist government has upset human rights groups and drawn criticism within the European Union by apparent discrimination against homosexuals.

So this incident is not the first instance of anti-gay rhetoric out of Poland. It is interesting that a right leaning government would echo the sentiments of our own right leaning Administration and its backers in the religious right community. Other Polish officials in the Education ministry have promoted ideas of sacking teachers who "promote" the homosexual lifestyle. Or in more realistic and blunt terms, those educators that condone students being who they are without repressing their feelings.

The Speaker of the Parliament did speak out against Ewa Sowinska, warning that she may make her department a laughing stock. However, if the government allows anti-gay rhetoric in other areas, his statements may just be a case of trying not to have the agenda appear foolish. Regardless of his motives, a true consideration for sexual equality would start with cleaning up the government of anything that might seem to castigate the gay community.

Bill Maher Goes After Jimmy Carter's Haters

With his usual wit and sarcasm, Bill Maher breaks down how Republicans viciously attack those that speak the truth about George Bush's abysmal Presidency:

BioFuel Comes To Brooklyn

The industrial area of Brooklyn does look a bit nasty when you drive through it, but there is something coming that is going to make New York and the surrounding a whole lot greener. The Mayor and Metro Fuel Oil Corporation are planning on opening a huge bio-fuel plant in the Greenpoint area in the upcoming year. As petroleum prices skyrocket, the large increase in the nation's bio-fuel production will be coming from this industrial area.

From The New York Times:

The Greenpoint plant and a smaller proposed plant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, both scheduled to open next year, would be the first biodiesel refineries in the city, hitching onto an industry that has been concentrated in the Midwest and the South.

The growth and eastward expansion of the industry are being driven by high petroleum prices and government programs aimed at reducing pollution and demand for foreign oil. But these changes are also creating concerns that the push for alternative fuels, if not managed carefully, could have unintended consequences like deforestation and higher food prices in the race to convert more land for fuel crop production.

“We have to pick the right policies and the best technologies,” said Ron Pernick, co-founder of Clean Edge, a Portland, Ore., research and consulting company. “But when done right, the move to biofuels addresses a number of issues, from the volatile prices of fossil fuels, to reliance on foreign supplies, to climate change, to job creation.”

The market is ripe for these fuels and there is plenty of vegetable oil out there to create the green energy. Oil is becoming increasingly expensive and our reliance on it continues to harm the planet. This idea is a no-brainer and I'm glad to see the production of bio-fuel here in New York. There are enough renewable, clean alternatives to oil out there in the world and we need to utilize more of them. In addition to bio-fuels, wind, solar and water power are abundant wherever you go. With adequate government funding, the world would not need to rely on the oil that we are addicted to today.

Cheney Cheers For War Crimes

Being a war criminal isn't easy, but Dick Cheney had no problem throwing his support behind torture and denouncing the Geneva Conventions. He did this at the well-publicized graduation ceremony at West Point Military Academy this weekend. According to Dick, the War on TerrorTM isn't exactly a war where you can apply any rules.

From RawStory:

Vice President Dick Cheney criticized the notion of applying the Geneva Conventions to individuals captured in the course of the war on terrorism in a Saturday commencement address at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

"Capture one of these killers, and he'll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States," the Vice President said in the Saturday morning speech. "Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away."

Cheney delivered the remarks in the context of moral and ethical lessons that the graduating cadets at West Point had learned in the course of their study.

"You have lived by a code of honor, and internalized that code as West Point men and women always do," he said. "As Army officers on duty in the war on terror, you will now face enemies who oppose and despise everything you know to be right, every notion of upright conduct and character, and every belief you consider worth fighting for and living for."

So despite officers who train cadets to have morals and try to be better than their enemies, Cheney is telling them to disobey those orders and sink to the level of their opposition. America is supposed to be looked up to in the world, but Dick would rather get down and dirty in the mud. Now that may sound cool for a wrestling match, but in real life that isn't what a civilized nation should be engaging in. It is because of animals like our Vice-President that we continue to lose standing and credibility in the world every single god-damned day.

Our Energy Crisis

The Center for American Progress put this little clip together, highlighting the problems of high gasoline prices, the oil industry's soaring profit margin and what Americans think of our energy policies:

Going To Work Green To Pollute The Environment

Every little bit counts when it comes to saving the environment, but this story is a little ironic. Oil companies in Houston are encouraging their employees to commute by bicycle while keeping the gears of the refineries going. The program helps save gas, reduces the budgets of the workers and gives a nice little PR piece for the oil industry.

From The Houston Chronicle:

Some of the world's biggest gas peddlers are encouraging their workers to pump the pedal.

Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips are among the Houston-area employers trying to make it easier for employees to bike to work.

Workers already have enough excuses: potholes, impatient drivers and the Houston heat.

But some businesses are easing the commute for those who decide the exercise and reduced emissions make biking worthwhile. They're giving them locker rooms, shower areas and safe places to park their bikes.

The program itself is great and I believe more companies should offer programs like this. However these companies like BP and Exxon are among the world's biggest polluters, helping to contribute billions of tons of carbon monoxide in the air every year. They should also focus on helping society wean itself of their oil...but profits tend to get in the way of such things. So while biking to work is great, the price gouging and continuation of the oil addicted society far outweigh any good that comes from this little stunt.

Giuliani Drama

Graduation day for Caroline Giuliani was a bittersweet event for all the parties involved. The best part was that his daughter was moving on to start at Harvard in the fall and she had gotten her diploma at the prestigious Trinity School. They got Senator Schumer to speak at their graduation ceremony. Talk about high society. Well anyway, the drama was all around Giuliani, his ex-wife and estranged kids.

From The NY Post:

May 26, 2007 -- The big chill between Rudy Giuliani and ex-wife Donna Hanover was on full display yesterday when both attended their daughter Caroline's high school graduation - but sat as far apart as possible and never spoke.

When the commencement speaker, Sen. Charles Schumer, noted Giuliani's presence and the audience broke into applause, Hanover and her son, Andrew Giuliani, sat stone-faced and didn't clap.

But Hanover and Andrew jumped up and cheered when the Harvard-bound 17-year-old Caroline received her diploma from the tony Trinity School, while Giuliani and his wife, Judith, didn't even crack a smile.

This story is more than a sad reflection of a broken family. It is indicative of the way Rudy relates to people. If there has to be drama on that magnitude in order to be in the same building, there is something seriously wrong.

I know it isn't about family that matters when you run the free world, it is a person's leadership ability and having the skill to comprehend what is going on around you. Well in addition to not talking to his kids or his ex-wife, Rudy can't comprehend much besides the phrase "9/11."