Saturday, June 30, 2007

CNN Spurred By Michael Moore To Report On Health Care Crisis

Of course the media is too busy reporting on John Edwards hair, Paris Hilton and the latest missing white woman to spontaneously be journalists and examine the state of our health care system...for the most part. To CNN's credit, they did look at the facts about our health care crisis, but only to try and discredit Michael Moore's new documentary, SiCKO. As you can tell from the article, they are desperately trying to put holes in the accuracy of Moore's substantial work.

From CNN:

Moore covers a lot of ground. Our team investigated some of the claims put forth in his film. We found that his numbers were mostly right, but his arguments could use a little more context. As we dug deep to uncover the numbers, we found surprisingly few inaccuracies in the film. In fact, most pundits or health-care experts we spoke to spent more time on errors of omission rather than disputing the actual claims in the film.

Whether it's dollars spent, group coverage or Medicaid income cutoffs, health care goes hand in hand with numbers. Moore opens his film by giving these statistics, "Fifty million uninsured Americans ... 18,000 people die because they are uninsured."

For the most part, that's true. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 43.6 million, or about 15 percent of Americans, were uninsured in 2006. For the past five years, the overall count has fluctuated between 41 million and 44 million people. According to the Institute of Medicine, 18,000 people do die each year mainly because they are less likely to receive screening and preventive care for chronic diseases.

Oh my, Moore is off by a few million people, he's obviously not qualified to report on the truth of our health care system.The piece goes on to highlight the good parts of the American system such as low wait times for elective surgery (meh) and that countries with universal health insurance can get supplemental insurance while there are planned out wait times for the basic care.

How good of CNN to finally devote some time to health care in America. Of course it is meant to attack Moore while giving him some credit for statistics they could not refute. They also agree things need to change, but that a movie won't do it. Well is people like Michael that are spotlighting the crisis that we face. If CNN and the rest of the media would regularly report on the greed of the HMO brass profit off of regular people's misery instead of devoting hours upon hours to Paris Hilton and her finding god in jail, maybe we could move the national debate a little faster so that we can in fact foster real change in how health care is administered to more than 300 million Americans.

Olbermann Helps To Take The Terror Out Of The London Incident

Keith had Larry Johnson on the show yesterday to talk about what most of the media wasn't reporting about the two car bombs found yesterday in London. While government officials are allowed to spout off terrorizing details without question, Olbermann and Johnson look at what really went down without terrorizing the viewers.

Non-Union Job Gets Nasty

An incident in Midtown Manhattan got ugly yesterday as union protesters were hit by a cement truck driven by a non-union worker on 8th Avenue. The two sides were scuffling until things took a turn for the worse. Fortunately police arrived before it anyone was seriously injured.

From The Daily News:

The seven arrested construction workers - a mix of union and nonunion laborers - were charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, authorities said.

More than 50 workers from Carpenters Local Union 608, Ironworkers Local Union 580, Laborers Local Union 79, and several other groups had gathered at the W. 48th St. site to protest the hiring of nonunion laborers.

"The owners want cheap labor at the expense of safety," said Local 79 member Daniel Fernandez, 46, of Staten Island. "We are trained ... and we do the safest work.

"We came here to get our jobs back, not have one of our own run over."

Its a shame to see anyone physically fighting over union/non-union work. I prefer to see it at an administrative level where a change in the workforce can happen. The construction company should never have had the 'scabs' in the first place and could have avoided the situation though. Fernandez, who was quoted above was right, things really weren't that safe on the job, when does one hear about union workers running over people with their trucks, even if it wasn't on purpose. What is wrong with these admins that hire them in the first place?


New York City is about to get a lot quieter, or so the city hopes. New noise regulations will go into effect at midnight tonight for the first time in over 30 years. The shushing will be enforced with fines ranging from $70 for an excessively barking dog to thousands of dollars for noisy nightclubs. Is this good policy or just another needless regulation for an over-regulated Manhattan?

From the Gothamist:

A new noise code will go into effect tonight/tomorrow morning when the clock strikes midnight, and that clock better have muffled bells. It's the first comprehensive overhaul of noise ordinances in about 30 years and was proposed by Mayor Bloomberg three and a half years ago. It's mostly oriented towards bars and clubs, where a growing nightlife presence in neighborhoods like the Lower East Side has left many residents sleepless. The New York Times notes that noisy cars and motorcycles will be completely banned from the city, there will be a limit on how long dogs can bark continuously, garbage trucks will be required to stay at least 50 feet from residential buildings between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., construction noise must be mitigated (Adrienne Shelley was killed for complaining about construction noise), and ice cream trucks will have to go quiet when parked curbside. We wonder if this will have any effect on the creative siren-DJ stylings emanating from police cars. Either way, enforcement of the new code may be spotty because the Dept. of Environmental Protection only has 26 noise meters. The police have 80.

The New York Post reports that the stricter noise regulations are worrying Mr. Softee truck owners and drivers, whose livelihood is ensured by the incessant jingling siren call that beckons kids on summer vacation to their trucks. The Post's story quotes one ice cream distributor who predicted that the jingle-ban could melt ice cream sales by 30%.

Going after Mr. Softee?? Thats just wrong. The whole thing stinks to high hell. If I wanted a quiet, peaceful and serene existence, I would still be in Arizona, or Connecticut or pretty much anywhere besides Manhattan. I love Manhattan just as it is. I don't even care when the Fire Department leaves their station house behind my apartment. It is a part of the city just like the rest of the noise emitted from thousands of different sources.

Some noise should be regulated however, I like the $350 fines for honking (even though it is rarely enforced) and when someone is ridiculously drunk and acting like an ass, I enjoy some passerby telling him to shut the ___ up. Other than that, give me a break.

Chris Dodd Has A Message For The Media

Chris Dodd is sounding better and better by the day. Although he is far behind in the polls, the leadership he is taking in regards to getting out of Iraq is highly commendable.

Does McCain Have A Deathwish?

Lagging in the polls and dwindling campaign funds is a terrible thing when running for President, but it isn't anything to kill yourself over. Unfortunately for McCain and his family, he may do just that. What method of suicide is he planning on using you ask? He told reporters that he is going to Iraq next week.

From ThinkProgress:

CNN reports, “Normally VIP visits to Iraq are kept under wraps, at least until the day of the trip. But Senator John McCain Friday night said he’s going to Iraq next week.” In April, the last time he visited in Iraq, McCain claimed Americans were “not getting the full picture” of the situation in Iraq. On that same visit, McCain was escorted through a Baghdad market with 100 soldiers, 3 Blackhawk helicopters, and 2 Apache gunships.

If this was 2003 or before, I would say have a nice trip. But Iraq is getting deadlier by the moment especially with the 'surge' in effect. Most important officials make their trips known the day of, giving little or no time for insurgents to attack such a target. McCain followed procedure when he went last time in April, making it easy for the brigade that accompanied him to do their job to protect the Senator.

A three day notice this time around is just plain nuts. Remember what almost happened to your man Dick Cheney a couple months ago John? And that was in Afghanistan, which isn't even close to being as bad as Iraq. This also shows how he views the troops over there. You know he is going to need a battalion to protect him this time, but that doesn't mean that there won't be people out there trying to take out a Senator and Presidential candidate. Thanks for putting their lives in even more danger, you *&#$@!

Budh Visits Rhode Island, Shocks The World With His Mouth

If you lost count on how many times George Bush has been to Texas, you're not alone. But if you are into keeping records on his visits to the other 49 states, you'd know that Rhode Island among othe states haven't even seen The Decider, until now. Even if you blink and miss the state while driving up or down the I-95, it is still no excuse for the President to not visit all of the states in the union. To his credit though, it isn't like anyone wants to hear the garbage that comes out his mouth anyways. Too bad the students at the Naval War College had to endure it two days ago. So did the entire world evidently.

From The International Heral Tribune:

NEWPORT, Rhode Island: President George W. Bush held up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq, saying Thursday that the goal of the U.S. mission in the war-ravaged Arab nation is not eliminating attacks but enabling a democracy that can function despite continuing violence.

With his Iraq policies under increasing fire from the American public and lawmakers from both parties, Bush went to the U.S. Naval War College here to declare progress. As he pleaded for patience, his top national security aide went to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican critics.

I love Israel, but this is about geopolitics, not my own personal opinion. To tell Muslim nations that we want to turn Iraq into the new Israel is a bad idea. Let me rephrase that. Modeling Israel for Iraq is an insanely idiotic thing to say. If anyone knows even a spec about the Middle East and the nations within the region, you would not mention Israel as a goal to adhere to. If they don't hate us enough over there, the vehemence is about to be spiked up to another degree for Bush's complete and total ignorance.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Conan's iPhone Preview

This is from six months ago, but for all of those that are waiting in massive lines for the iPhone today, you can look forward to all of the new features:

Romney Defends His Animal Abuse

Mitt Romney faced an onslaught of coverage following the Boston Globe article that told of him strapping a dog carrier with his Irish Setter "Seamus" inside for a day long roadtrip from Boston to Ontario in 1983. Dog owners and people who believe in humane treatment for dogs (probably over 99 percent of the population) were shocked at the news, even thought it was so long ago. So how does a Presidential candidate respond to the story showing his callous behavior for the family dog? Perhaps with an apology.....but we are talking about Mr. "Double Guantanamo" Mitt Romney here.


Romney answered questions about a Boston Globe feature story that mentions how he strapped his dog's cage, with the animal inside, to the top of his family's car during a 12-hour road trip 24 years ago.

He said Thursday that the pet enjoyed the experience, and he took a shot at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a group that has labeled his actions as cruelty.

"You know, PETA has not been my fan over the years," Romney said. "PETA has been after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics and were very, very upset about that. PETA was after me when I went quail hunting in Georgia. And PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air."

FRESH AIR??? Are you kidding me? Dogs like fresh air when they are running outside in the grass or on a walk. Not experiencing it at 70mph on a highway for hours upon hours. To blame PETA for the abuse of an animal is outrageous to say the least. PETA isn't the only group that is upset over this, so is the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. An officer of the group says it could be illegal as well. If Mitt were any kind of man, he would apologize for his treatment of the dog, not try to blame someone else.

Calling BS On London "Bomb"

The media is going crazy over a potentially deadly car bomb at Piccadilly Circus in London this morning. Reports claim that it could have killed hundreds and wounded even more, but the police bravely detonated the device and everyone was saved from an act of terror. Or was it? Perhaps this was just another situation used to scare the crap out of people and keep their minds off of other things. Larry Johnson explains things at his site.

From No Quarter:

You know what you call a vehicle with 50 gallons of gas? A Cadillac Escalade. The media meltdown over this incident is simply shameful.

For starters, gasoline is not a high explosive. If we were talking 50 pounds of Semtex or the Al Qaeda standby, TATP, I would be impressed. Those are real high explosives with a detonation rate in excess of 20,000 feet per second. Gasoline can explode (just ask former owners of a Ford Pinto) but it is first and foremost an incediary. If the initial reports are true, the clown driving the Mercedes was a rank amateur when it comes to constructing an Improvised Explosive Device aka IED. Unlike a Hollywood flick the 50 gallons of gas would not have shredded the Mercedes into lethal chunks of flying shrapenal.

The fact that "officers courageously disabled the trigger by hand" coupled with the report of the smoke in the car leads me to believe that the mad London "bomber" tried to construct a Molotov cocktail of sorts and lit a cloth fuze. Fortunately he left the windows in the car up and there was not enough oxygen to really get the fire going. Looks like the brave British police reached in and snuffed the flame.

Meanwhile the major news outlets are doing their best to maximize ratings by making this out to be another victory over the terrorists. It is a fact that actual terrorists are out there, but this is the act of some lone quack. If a well organized outfit like Al Qaeda had been behind this, things could have been much, much worse.

Oh and by the way, Londoners are shrugging this off unlike the press.

Lewis Black Exposes Conservative Online Media

Lewis has to be one of my favorite comedians. His approach includes the right amount of sarcasm and goes after some of the most idiotic things that come from the right. Watching him makes you want to say "WTF?!?!?"

To All Those That Supported The Supreme Court's Decision Yesterday

Chief Justice John Roberts and his four cohorts on the bench overturned Brown v. Board of Education yesterday, setting the country back over fifty years in that regard. In some areas we have already gone back much farther, especially when it comes to the economy and who gets the biggest say. Anyways, in his opinion, he cited Brown v. Board because he does not want the system to be based on race anymore. I concluded that he either lives in a bubble where racism does not exist anymore or that he is basically does not care about minorities. For anyone that thinks racism and segregation is a thing of the past, you need to read this story.

From While Seated:

In September 2006, a group of African American high school students in Jena, Louisiana, asked the school for permission to sit beneath a "whites only" shade tree. There was an unwritten rule that blacks couldn't sit beneath the tree. The school said they didn't care where students sat. The next day, students arrived at school to see three nooses (in school colors) hanging from the tree....

The boys who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The school administration chalked it up as a harmless prank, but Jena's black population didn't take it so lightly. Fights and unrest started breaking out at school. The District Attorney, Reed Walters, was called in to directly address black students at the school and told them all he could "end their life with a stroke of the pen."

Black students were assaulted at white parties. A white man drew a loaded rifle on three black teens at a local convenience store. (They wrestled it from him and ran away.) Someone tried to burn down the school, and on December 4th, a fight broke out that led to six black students being charged with attempted murder. To his word, the D.A. pushed for maximum charges, which carry sentences of eighty years. Four of the six are being tried as adults (ages 17 & 18) and two are juveniles....

Now it is being reported that an all-white jury was empaneled to decide the fate of these young men and that the first of six boys was found guilty of aggravated second-degree battery. Welcome back to the time before civil rights ladies and gentlemen. If only this case could be appealed to the Supreme Court, but I doubt John Roberts would have the time to hear it, he's too busy destroying our country and its freedoms.

Affordable Housing Bill Tainted By NY Legislature

A smart piece of legislation put together by a coalition of groups to enable construction of affordable housing was cut to pieces by the state legislature this week. Instead of a bill that would have provided for the lower and middle classes by revamping certain tax breaks, a few special developers (like Bruce Ratner) got gigantic tax breaks to pad their controversial projects. The culprit who amended the legislation is Brooklyn's own Vito Lopez, yet all but two legislators signed the bill.

From The New York Times:

Mr. Lopez, who did not consult many of the advocates and builders who had worked on the city’s proposal, defended his legislation, saying it aimed at housing for poor and working-class New Yorkers. Middle-class families were just “not as high a priority,” he said.

But many advocates, city officials and even some Senate Republicans are saying that Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, betrayed the city’s effort. By all accounts, Mr. Spinola, the leading industry lobbyist, played a major role in negotiating the compromises and the tax deals for Atlantic Yards and other developments that led to Senate approval.

“This was a backroom deal,” said Liz Krueger, one of only two state senators who voted against the bill.

Sounds a lot like the same old crap from Albany. Unless the bill is miraculously changed back to its original intent, this one definitely needs to be vetoed by the Governor. It goes against the central theme of what he ran on, cleaning up the corruption that is so rampant in our state. Three hundred million dollars in tax breaks for companies like the Forest City Ratner group is completely unacceptable.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ron Paul And General Batiste Take On The War

Sing A Song For Jersey

A recent civics trip for some New Jersey High School students has turned into a campaign for the Garden State to adopt an official song. Out of all the states in the Northeast, New Jersey is silent. On this side of the Hudson we have "I Love New York," New Jersey has other symbols for bees and even dinosaurs, so the kids want to change that. So what is it, Springsteen or Bon Jovi?

From The New York Times:

Jane Hall, Regina Balsys and Sue Gethard, who are teachers, said that their civics classes have started a campaign to persuade legislators to adopt the Bon Jovi song (“Who Says You Can’t Go Home?'’ ). They invited State Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf to the school, who explained to them how a bill gets adopted, and told them that if they wanted to see the song chosen as the state song, it would help to gather more support.

The students decided to take up the cause. Why didn’t they consider a Bruce Springsteen song? He is the native son who comes to mind, probably more than the fellow New Jerseyan Mr. Bon Jovi, when it comes to songs about the state.

While Ms. Hall calls herself “a diehard Springsteen fan,’’ she deemed his “My Hometown” too sad and said “Born to Run,'’ which has been considered a contender to represent the state, is a bit inappropriate. She said: “He talks about leaving home. He says, ‘it’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap.’ That’s not exactly a state song.’’

I would personally choose Springsteen as would my Jerseygirl mom who grew up there in the 60s. Bon Jovi represents a younger crowd overall (even though Springsteen has fans of all ages) so this isn't too surprising. No matter what song actually makes it into law, at least there will be something to sing about in the Garden State.

A Sad Day For America

The Supreme Court set out today to roll us back 53 years and to bygone era where it is ok to segregate schools based on race. The dark days of blatant and in your face racism are coming back, thanks to Justices Alito, Thomas, Roberts, Scalia and Kennedy. The implications of this decision are unfathomable. Equality for all Americans is an essential prerequisite for our democracy and the Supreme Court is against that. Parents Involved in Community Schools Inc. v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County (Ky.) Board of Education is a lengthy term but just as memorable as Brown v. Board of Education.

From The Washington Post:

The court's four liberals delivered a scathing dissent -- twice as long as Roberts's opinion. It said the plurality's decision was, in the words of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who read his opposition from the bench, a "cruel distortion" of the court's landmark decision more than 50 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education, which demanded an end to segregated schools.

"This is a decision that the court and the nation will come to regret," Breyer said.

Roberts, too, had used the decision in Brown as a basis for today's opinion.

"Before Brown, schoolchildren were told where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin," Roberts wrote. "The school districts in these cases have not carried the heavy burden of demonstrating that we should allow this once again -- even for very different reasons."

This is already regrettable Justice Breyer. Chief Justice Roberts is either a fool or a villain for using it in his opinion as well. If he thinks that race is not an important hurdle that our society has to overcome even in 2007, his world is limited to the small bubble that shields him from the real world.

I think Roberts is a smart guy, it is hard for a fool to get to lead the highest court in the land. I suspect his motivations for the decision are far more nefarious than we can imagine. He is a neo-con that believes the same way as his masters who helped put him up there. PNAC and those that follow the grand neo-conservative plan want to see government fall back from protecting essential freedoms and protections for minorities (unless that minority is the white wealthy elite).

Democrats have issued warnings that a Bush Presidency would unimaginably alter the Supreme Court for the worse. We had no idea how right they were.

Confusing Perino

Poor little Dana Perino, a hellish four and a half minutes in front of the White House press corp leaves her "thoroughly confused." What arcane, abstract legalese could put her in such a bind? Simply what is stated in the Constitution. She can't wrap that head of hers around the fact that the Vice-President is part of the Executive branch.

Poor thing, meh.

Sen. Norm Coleman, Former Pothead, Current Hypocrite

Ah Republicans, they say one thing and do the other. Case in point, Senator Norm Coleman. Norm has been a strong defender of the strict marijuana laws on the Federal books, echoing his party's cries to throw the key away for drug offenders. Unfortunately for the Senator, his old friend from college wrote him an open letter on chastising him for his policy reversal and reminding him that he loved to get high.

From Celebstoner:

Dear Mr. Coleman,

My friend Norman.

Years ago, in a lifetime far away, you did not oppose the legalization of marijuana. Years ago, in our dorm rooms at Hofstra University, you, me, Billy, your future brother-in-law, Ivan, Jonathan, Peter, Janet, Nancy and a wealth of other students smoked dope.

Sure, we had to tape the doors shut, burn incense and open the windows, but we got high, and yet we grew up okay, without the help of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's advice.

We grew up to become lawyers. Our other friends, as you go down the list, are doctors, professors, parents, political consultants and professionals. No one ever got cancer from smoking pot or diabetes from using a joint. And the days of our youth we look back fondly upon as years where we stood up, were counted and made a difference, from Earth Day in 1970 to helping bring down a president and end a war in Southeast Asia a few years later.

Norm Coleman (left), 1969We smoked pot when we took over Weller Hall to protest administrative abuses of students' rights. You smoked pot as you stood on the roof of the University Senate protesting faculty exclusivity. As the President of the Student Senate in 1969, you condemned the raid by Nassau County police on our dormitories, busting scores of students for pot possession.

Well well Mr. Coleman. You turned into the people that you desipised the most from the time of your youth. The effects of marijuana are debatable but the penalties for using it should not. People that do have problems with marijuana should be given treatment, not jail time. As a former stoner, you should have sympathy for those that get high today as you once did (or still do??) at Hofstra.

If you now believe in such harsh punishment for using pot, shouldn't you be serving time in prison as well? If it is so pervasively destructive to anyone who uses it, how did you make it to law school, being Mayor of Minneapolis and Senator from Minnesota? Perhaps you can answer some of these questions in the upcoming battle for your seat next year.

Ron Paul Plans To Crash The Debate

Forget about crashing the local house party this weekend. Ron Paul is going to upstage all of that. The Iowans for Tax Relief want to keep Paul out for reasons that are vague at best. As a Republican with a Libertarian bent, he would add another perspective to a debate that suffers from groupthink and personal attacks. Hagel would change that as well, but Paul will have to do for now.

From The SF Gate:

The Texas congressman, who has struggled to top 1 percent in national polls, wasn't invited to a forum of presidential candidates Saturday in Des Moines. The gathering is sponsored by the Iowa Christian Alliance and the watchdog group Iowans for Tax Relief.

Instead of grumbling, Paul's campaign decided to hold its own party — in the same hall as the forum. They're calling it a celebration of life and liberty.

Campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said it has been frustrating to be excluded, especially since Paul has consistently opposed abortion and is known nationally for his advocacy of lowering taxes.

"It's just a little head-scratching," Benton said.

I wouldn't say the move is "head-scratching." In fact excluding Paul from the debate makes perfect sense...for Republicans. They do not want to hear differing opinions, especially from within their own ranks. If you don't say what people want to hear (instead of the truth) then they'll toss you. There is no room for debate in the Republican Party and that might just be the trick for its downfall.

An Ex-Ex-Gay Man Speaks Out Against "Ex-Gays"

Michael Bussee recounts his story of meeting another ex-gay founder of Exodus and falling in love, dispelling the myth that is the Ex-Gay movement.

Obama Has The Numbers, 138,000 Of Them

The June 30th reporting date for the 2nd quarter fundraising results are still a couple days away, but that hasn't stopped the Obama campaign from releasing some preliminary figures from the past three months. With 138,000 new donors contributing to his campaign, Barack has nearly a quarter of a million people who have invested money in his candidacy. It is nothing short of amazing.

From The Huffington Post:

The campaign won't say yet how much the donors have given, but the large number suggests their fundraising will be competitive with the $25.7 million he raised in the first quarter. A campaign official speaking on the condition of anonymity tried to tamp down expectations by disclosing that the average donation in the second quarter is likely to be less than the roughly $247 in the first quarter.

The campaign was announcing a goal Thursday of attracting 250,000 donors by midnight on Saturday, the next money reporting deadline. It was 7,214 short as of Wednesday.

The campaign said it collected 335,953 contributions _ meaning that many individuals made repeat donations _ and its goal will be to reach 350,000 by the deadline.

Barack's fundraising statistics mirror the size of the crowds that attend his rallies. He is nothing short of a political rockstar. He is on pace to raise over a hundred million dollars this year and remains competitive in the polls. With all of the fame and the press that hungrily laps it up, will it actually translate into victories when the primaries are finally upon us? Clinton is still the frontrunner nationally and raising roughly the same amount of cash (from wealthier sources of course). The rockstar of 2007/08 still needs to find a way to cut her sails before she runs away with the nomination.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Love Dogs? You're Gonna Hate Romney

There have been many jaw dropping moments for the Republican candidates so far, but when it comes to cruel, inhumane and just plain sadistic behavior, Mitt Romney takes the cake. Granted, the incident happened fifteen years ago, but no decent human being can vote for a man that treats his dog like a piece of luggage.

From The Boston Globe:

Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.

Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.


As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.
As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

Emotion free for business? That passes for capitalistic America these days. Emotionless and cold-hearted treatment for the family dog? That is completely unacceptable and according to Massachusetts state law it is illegal as well. Forget all of the other abhorrent things he has said and done so far in the campaign. This is enough to discard Mitt from the race right here and now. If you can't care for the member of your family that gives the most unconditional love, you don't deserve the trust of your children, not to mention the entire country.

Bush's "Entourage"

Here's another gem from Current:

The F.D.A. And Aspartame

Aspartame and the companies that produce it were dealt a major blow by a recently published study that confirmed previous tests showing it is a cancer-causing agent. The fake sugar is found in many diet drinks as well as baked goods that substitute the real stuff that comes from sugarcane. With this additional evidence, you would think our own regulatory agency would do something about it, but when it comes to the Food and Drug Administration these days the people's health just isn't a major factor anymore.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

The US Food and Drug Administration says there is no need for an urgent review of the safety of aspartame, despite a new study showing the sweetener may cause cancer.

A US consumer group has called for the review after Italian researchers published a new study that showed aspartame - widely used in soft drinks - might cause leukaemia, lymphoma and breast cancer in rats.

"This is the second study by the same lab showing that aspartame causes cancer in rats," Centre for Science in the Public Interest executive director Michael Jacobson said.

Of course the soft drink industry will deny the findings, that is a given. The F.D.A. however is supposed to be non-biased and if there is a study showing that the chemical may cause cancer, it should be thoroughly investigated. As the article notes, the rats in the F.D.A.'s previous studies were all killed at two years, which does not allow researchers to see the long-term effects.

The industry relies on the F.D.A. as proof that the independent findings are wrong because the F.D.A.'s reputation is still largely intact. Unfortunately for people that do not know, the Bush Administration has wrecked the independence of that agency just like so many other parts of our government.

Rent Raised Despite Large Protest

Well the Rent Guidelines Board met last night down at Cooper Union and raised our rents again. The Board passed a 3% increase on one year leases and 5.75% for two year deals. Ronald S. Languedoc who represents the renters wanted a rent freeze for the coming year, but was rejected in favor of the landlords of over one million apartments throughout the city. Higher rent increase proposals were also rejected, leaving the outcome to be in the middle. In the end, neither group was happy.

From The New York Times:

Tenants, some of whom came expecting a higher increase, were nonetheless unhappy. “They could have come down to about 4 and 2,” said Priscilla Durant, 61, who has lived in a rent-stabilized apartment in Washington Heights for 8 years. “That would have been good.”

Hector Lozano, 61, a landlord in her neighborhood, however, said that he was feeling the crush of high taxes and low rent. Mr. Lozano, who owns a 26-unit building in Washington Heights, said that he did not want to have to raise rents, but would this year have to pay $12,000 more in property taxes. “This is insane,” he said of the rental adjustments. “Some landlords are making a lot of money. But a lot of small landlords are going to hell and back.”

There should be a compromise, but only if the two sides are on an equal footing. The fact is that while tenants who do not pay their monthly rent are evicted, nothing happens to landlords who frequently rack up housing violations. With my own building included, landlords are allowed to get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist while they get to charge higher and higher rents.

Maybe if the Housing Authority took better action against negligent building owners, tenants would be more willing to pay the extra rent. I know that the City Council passed a bill to target slumlords, but it is up to the Authority to carry out the council's bark with an appropriate bite.

Bill O Whipped By A High School Junior

Last week on the Falafel Factor, hilarity (and Bill's temper) ensued as a 16yr old from Boulder High School made mince meat of the infamous O'Reilly, turning his own book against him when the topic of condoning drug use came up. Bill is pathetic, anyone can take on this moron.

Giuliani Loves The Nuts

We aren't talking about the ones you buy on the street corner here, this is about one particular religious nut that goes by the name of Pat Robertson. Robertson has a history of saying and doing ridiculous things and apparently that is okay by Giuliani's standards. It isn't the religion or moral values (what values?) that Rudy admires, it is the influence that he supposedly commands over a large sect of Republicans and what that could mean for himself from an endorsement. With Rudy, the lust for power is practically worn on his sleeve.

From ThinkProgress:

Thank you very, very much, Pat. Thank you for the very kind words and the introduction. And thank you for having me here.

I am very, very impressed with Regent University, when I consider that it was founded just a short while ago. The number of graduates that you have and the amount of influence that you have is really, really terrific.

And of all the many things that you’ve done — and there have been many, and many contributions…

The only contributions I can think of is people like Monica Goodling that hail from this 4th tier law school that slither into our government and try to destroy it. The truth of the matter is that both men are merely seeking their own realms of power. Giuliani wants the religious right vote and Robertson wants to be seen as an important player in Republican politics. Both of these scoundrels make me sick.

A Jury Of Whose Peers?

Our Justice system was intended to give the accused a fair judge and a jury of their peers. Unfortunately the latter may not be the case (and if the judge was Gerald Garson you didn't have the former either) in Manhattan. A Citizen Action study showed that the make up of jury pools in the city vastly underrepresented minorities of all groups.

From 1010 WINS:

Three out of four people who show up for jury duty in Manhattan's courts are white, even though they represent about half of the borough's population, Citizen Action of New York said Wednesday.

"Our survey showed that jury pools have a much higher percentage of whites than their share of the population, while blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and mixed race people are enormously underrepresented," Bob Cohen, Citizen Action policy director and the report's lead author, said in a statement. "This means that defendants in criminal cases and plaintiffs in civil proceedings ... can't be sure they're going to get a fair result from the courts."

The report was based on a visual survey of 14,429 people who responded to a jury summons in Manhattan from November 2006 through February 2007. The survey was conducted in the jury pool room.

Although the jury selection process may help to make a trial more fair, ideally it should be that way from the time summons are issued till the jury is seated. Citizens Action wants the system to be reformed by using city directories as the source of potential jurors as well as updating lists to take in account the increased mobility of New Yorkers. This fix-it should be a no-brainer, lets see if the courts can make it happen.

Jon Stewart Examines The Non-Executive Dick

Cheney that is. If you thought these guys disregarded the Constitution before, the latest stunt is beyond anything we've seen before.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards Slams Coulter

I love nothing more than to see Ann Coulter being put in her place (other than being completely ignored, so I will take this for now). Elizabeth Edwards did exactly that tonight on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Chris invited her on to talk about the latest hateful spew she let loose on John Edwards. Unfortunately for her she was surprised with a live phone call from a woman who could be our next First Lady.

From RawStory:

"In the South, when somebody does something that displeases us, we like to ask them politley to stop doing it," said Edwards. "I'd like to ask Ann Coulter too. If she'd like to debate on issues, on positions -- we certainly disagree with nearly everything she said on your show today -- but it's quite another matter for these personal attacks."


Although Coulter flippantly agreed to a debate, Edwards kept pushing back. "It did not start with [yesterday]. You had a column a couple years ago which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean's death and suggessted that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said, 'ask me about my dead son.' This is not legitimate political dialogue. It debases political dialogue. It draws people away from the process. We can't have a debate about the issues if you're using this type of language."

Coulter later questioned why the presidential candidate didn't phone in himself, to which Elizabeth had a ready answer. "I haven't talked to John about this call. I'm phoning in as a mother," she said to much applause. "I'm the mother of that boy who died. . . These young people behind you are the age of my children. You're asking them to particpate in a dialogue that's based on hatefullness and ugliness instead of on the issues and I don't think that's serving them or this country very well."

Elizabeth hits the nail right on Ann's head....well almost. Not only does this type of discourse have no place in politics, Ann has no place in legitimate political dialogue. Ann contributes nothing but hate and vindicativeness that only serves herself.

The fact that she was allowed to appear on Good Morning America and subsequently Hardball shows that the media is complicit with her game. Instead of having a thoughtful debate on the issues, the media gets to increase their ratings based on ridiculous drama while she gets to sell more books. Shame on Ann and any TV show that puts that troll on camera.

Spitzer's Shaming Campaign?

The Governor isn't looking so hot these days. A brutal war between him and the State Legislature has erupted over his no-holds-barred approach to combating the status quo up in Albany. The effect of the strategy has been a lot of gridlock and fighting, especially with Senate Leader Joe Bruno. Apparently compromise isn't on the table from Eliot's perspective. On this summer break, he is going into the districts of Senate Republicans to shame them into reforming business as usual.

From The New York Sun:

The administration hopes to use the added political pressure on Mr. Bruno and his conference as leverage to force him to cooperate with the administration's agenda, including enacting tighter campaign finance rules. "The fourth man in the room is the fact that Bruno's majority is under siege," a top adviser to Mr. Spitzer said. The Republicans now hold 33 seats in the Senate to the Democrats' 29.

The escalation could begin as early as this week. Mr. Spitzer has plans to visit the local districts of a number of Senate Republicans and make speeches singling out the lawmakers for blame — a "shaming tour" similar to his trips around the state in February, during which he attacked Assembly Democrats for defying him by choosing one of their own members, Thomas DiNapoli, to fill a state comptroller vacancy.

Obviously Spitzer has no fear in using this strategy since the last time around in the spring. The question is, will it work. Taking back the Senate from the power-hungry hands of Joe Bruno would be a decisive victory, but there is no chance of it until at least the next election cycle in 2008.

Another problem for Spitzer is that there are many Democrats that disapprove of his politicking and policy proposals as well. Eliot's solution is probably to get rid of those Democrats in the primaries. I am all in favor of a reformer in the Governor's seat and I agree that old, corrupt Democrats need to go just as badly as the old corrupt Republicans. Yet so far nothing has really come to pass so that New York receives the reform it so desperately deserves.

Deep Thoughts: By Ann Coulter

So much for the anti-gay rhetoric about John Edwards, apparently Ann wants to get down to business:

The Death Of The Last NYC Deli

Delis will never truly die but many fear the end of an era is at hand. Second Avenue Deli's departure stunned many, blamed on the drastic rise in the price of rent. Now there may be another victim of the times, the iconic Katz' Delicatessen on Houston Street. It isn't official yet, but the rumors are starting to get around. TimeOut New York asks the hard questions on what is behind the dying delis.

It could be those rising rents and the subsequent $14 dollar sandwiches (or more at the touristy Carnegie and Stage Delis). Not as many people pack themselves into the institutional eateries of the cities anymore. Personally I do not make it to Katz' as often as I would like, but I am a regular at Sarge's Deli which is nearby. There's a Nona that works there that could be my supplemental grandma.

Despite my eating habits, maybe the times have changed for good kosher delis (or at least resembles being parve). It seems like there's a new trendy restaurant wherever I look. As I'm typing this I can see the brand new THAINY across the street on 28th and 3rd. The place used to be occupied by Noodles on 28th (which moved a block up the street) but left the space because of skyrocketing rent.

So who's to blame? The developers, the lack of patrons, healthier and more chic eating habits? It might be a little bit of all of the above.

Want A Say In The Cost Of Your Rent?

Unless you are lucky enough to own your little space in New York, the cost of rent is always an important of life in the city. For the most part we get the statement at the end of the month and pay it by the beginning of the next. But what if you could get your two cents on how rent is raised? If you are unable to reduce the increased prices by screaming or cajoling your landlord, you might want to come to the Rent Guidelines Board meeting tonight in The Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th at 3rd Avenue).

The final vote is tonight and this is the best time to make a lasting impression before the axe comes down. The landlords will be present to make their case on why your rent should be raised as high as possible. Yet for every one of them, there are many more of us. So come make your voice heard and fight the increasing cost of living in the city we all love.

The War On Drugs In Afghanistan

The war on drugs has failed miserably in the Americas, and apparently in Afghanistan as well. Ever since the Taliban fell opium production has skyrocketed. A new U.N. report shows that the situation is getting even worse:

Looking In The Faces Of Children, Bush Lies About Torture

It is evident that Bush is a liar, maybe even one of the pathological kind. He showed his callous disregard of the truth when confronted by this year's group of Presidential scholars. The winners of the award (two per state, Puerto Rico and various others) were invited to the White House to hear about the "Every No Child Left Behind" program of his, but the kids had other ideas.

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — President Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to "violations of the human rights" of terror suspects held by the United States.

The White House said Bush had not expected the letter but took a moment to read it and talk with a young woman who handed it to him.

"The president enjoyed a visit with the students, accepted the letter and upon reading it let the student know that the United States does not torture and that we value human rights," deputy press secretary Dana Perino said.

They wanted the President to comply with the Geneva Conventions and America's own history of rising above the ugliness that the world has the capacity for. Unfortunately for these brave students, our country and the world, Bush feels more comfortable being a part of the cesspool so many of us despise. It does not matter who talks to the President, it could be the Pope or the second coming telling him not to torture, and even that would not faze him.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Don't Mess With Democratic Quarterbacks

The Republican party faithful may not admit it, but they know their elected officials are either corrupt or just plain old crooks. They have stolen from the American people and given our treasury to the corporations and the rich. So if they can do that, what's to stop one Republican Congressman from stealing a Democrat's sign? Though if you guys are going to be thieves, don't steal from Congressman Heath Shuler. He will get in your face with avengeance.

From RawStory:

A Republican House member (pictured) was slammed by a Democratic colleague as a "chickenshit thief" after borrowing one of his signs, a Capitol Hill newspaper reports.

"On Thursday, during House votes, a very angry Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) had some distinctly non-collegial words for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)," Emily Heil reports for Roll Call's "Heard on the Hill." "The words 'gutless,' 'chickens--t' and 'thief' were flung."

The paper reports, "Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, was spotted towering over a seated Gohmert, wagging a finger in his face during the heated session, spies tell HOH."

The last time I looked up the phrase "borrowing without permission" it fit more in line with stealing than actual borrowing. If I were to take my neighbor's Ferrari for a joyride down to Miami for the weekend and return it a few days later, it might end up on a police watch-list for stolen cars. Now a Ferrari and a cardboard sign may not be of the same value, but principles are principles. In Congress we should expect only the highest ethics, though I am definitely not surprised by this Republican from Texas.

Bush's New Musical "Waterloo"

A little bit twisted but it has a lot of laughs. As the producer stated, its a toe-tapping tribute to Dubya's legacy.

Giuliani Lies Again

Last week Giuliani made the news for not bothering to attend and finally leaving his position on the Iraq Study Group. It was an excellent opportunity for him to try and gain some foreign policy cred that he has nothing of. Instead, he goes around talking a lot like George Bush with ignorance and bluster. His excuse seemed rather lame and it seems there's a reason why. It wasn't true.

From ThinkProgress:

Earlier this week, Newsday reported that former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani quit the Iraq Study Group after co-chairman James Baker offered “him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit.” Giuliani had failed to show up for a single meeting during the two months he was a member of the commission.

In response to the story, Giuliani said he left the group because he “didn’t want the group’s work to become a political football” for his nascent presidential campaign, a claim that has been thoroughly debunked.

On Meet The Press this morning, host Tim Russert offered more evidence that politics was not an issue in Giuliani’s decision to leave the ISG. “Several commission members have said to me that presidential politics never entered the discussion,” said Russert. “It was all about Giuliani’s schedule and commitments versus showing up for the Iraq Study Group.”

This evidence backs up the notion that Giuliani really cares nothing about national security and only focuses on having the power of the Presidency. He would rather make money and play politics than try to find a solution to one of the nation's biggest problems since Vietnam. If America is looking for more greed and corruption, Rudy is your man. If the people want a President to lead our country out of the mess we are in, choose someone else.

The Clash Of Beer And Bio-Fuel

German Brewmasters took up figurative arms against the fledgling bio-fuel industry, claiming that farmers are growing too many bio-fuel crops and not enough barely. In return, they claim Oktoberfest prices will skyrocket in order to maintain their premium product. Beer is serious business in Germany and this one could shake public opinion amongst the connoisseurs of ale everywhere.

From The UK Independent:

The head of the German brewers' association, Richard Weber, has caused outrage among friends of the annual Oktoberfest beer jamboree by predicting the hefty price rise. He pointed out that the German barley crop has been halved this year and that prices have soared by 50 per cent within 12 months. Poor-quality harvests, caused by unusually hot weather, have not helped either.

As a result, Germany's brewers, which insist on the purity of their beer and offer organic brands to emphasise their green-tinged credentials, have turned over a new leaf. They are now demanding an end to the use of crops to make fuel.

"The energy and food sectors are competing for the same raw materials and the same acreage," said Mr Weber.

These organic brewmasters are to be applauded for an attempt at producing beer without pesticides, but they are missing the big picture. Perhaps the "unusually" hot summer has something to do with the environment and how bio-fuels are playing a small part in combating climate change. Personally, I'd rather have more expensive beer so that bio-fuels can make a bigger difference in how we travel and move commerce.

Olbermann Takes On Cheney's Latest Constitutional Attack

Taking Alternative Energy Too Far

I never thought I would say this but there are limits to fighting climate change. A Jersey shore man has erected a giant windmill to help power his home. Neighbors want it gone and the Long Beach Township might just enact an ordinance to take it down.

From WNBC:

One man's source of electric power is causing an ill wind to blow in Long Beach Township. Two of Michael Mercurio's neighbors have filed a lawsuit to stop him from using a windmill in his backyard that helps to heat and light his house. The suit contends the windmill is too noisy, creates shadows on their property and spoils their sleep.

Michael Mercurio's efforts are great for the environment, but a nuisance to the neighbors.

In response, the township's board of commissioners discussed proposing an ordinance that would ban the building of windmills higher than 12 feet, except for decorative purposes.

There's nothing wrong with solar panels on a house (which powers 75% of the property) but the turbine does create a disturbance with shadows and noise. Wind turbines are a great source of energy and I believe we should install thousands or millions more, just not in the middle of a neighborhood.

New York, New York, New York

Everyone is talking about New York these days. Is it that we have the best bagels? Theatre and fashion districts? Perhaps its Chinatown or Little Italy? None of the above unfortunately. Now that Bloomberg is the next potential candidate for a country still searching for someone to take over after Bush, New York represents three different sides in a potential match-up next November.

From WNBC:

Although the nation's most populous city is regarded by many -- including its residents -- as the nation's financial, fashion and cultural capital, it has rarely served as a catapult to the White House.

Mayor John V. Lindsay's Democratic presidential bid in 1972 was the most recent failure. Statewide office offered little promise, either: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, elected in 1932, was the last governor to reach the national stage. Oft-mentioned Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, never mounted a campaign, and talk about his GOP successor, George Pataki, making the move was just talk.


As some people noted, two of the three are not New Yorkers anyway: Giuliani was born in Brooklyn, but Clinton hails from Illinois and Bloomberg still bears a trace of his Boston accent.

"They just happen to be living in the New York area," said Marvin Hall, 57, of Chicago. Hall said he is more concerned with the abilities than their addresses, although a fellow Windy City resident wondered if too many candidates from adjoining zip codes was a good idea.

From the entire article Marvin had the smartest response. This race shouldn't be based on what state they currently represent. It is about the issues and who can provide effective leadership in a government that needs serious repair. The three New Yorkers may all have Manhattan offices, but come from three different styles of governing. Besides, there hasn't been a New Yorker in the White House since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was he so bad?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Supermarket Swindle Ad (w/ Spanish Subtitles)

Pot Isn't The Only Drug That Can Add To Your Waist

When I think of drugs that make you fat, marijuana and the munchies that follow immediately come to mind. However pot isn't the only drug out there that can put on the pounds. There are plenty of legal drugs made by Big Pharma that do it as well.

From The UK Independent:

Thousands of people who take prescription medicines for everyday conditions are gaining large amounts of weight as an unexpected side effect, scientists have warned.

Researchers, who found that some patients were putting on up to 22lbs in a year, say that the drugs may even be contributing to the nation's rocketing obesity epidemic.

All of the patients they studied, on medication for conditions as diverse as diabetes, epilepsy, depression, high blood pressure and schizophrenia, showed evidence of weight increase.

How exactly does that work, the big drug companies do not generally warn about weight gain for their products in the slew of potential side effects. The worst offenders are psychiatric medications, specifically Olanzapine and Clozapine from the study. Generally when you are given those types of drugs, the patients are not usually warned about gaining 20lbs a year. It isn't the 'munchies' that cause the weight gain but the specific side effects of the drugs. For example beta-blockers slow the heart rate, steroids and as noted just before, Olanazapine.

Sometimes those medications are more important to take than trying to look good for the beach. However, the drug industry wants to keep selling their product to anyone who will take them and of course the doctors who keep prescribing. The key is to watch out for the pushers and do your own research.

Wal-Mart High, Taco Bell Middle School?

If you think corporate naming rights were just for ballparks guess again. Officials in Canada are giving serious thought to offering their school names' to corporations like Wal-Mart and Taco Bell to raise funds for a system that is sorely lacking funds. The public is outraged that their school district in Ottawa would even consider such a thing.

From the AFP:

The Ottawa school board, for example, passed a 634.8-million dollar (595-million US) budget last week, but even after deep cuts, was left with a deficit of 6.2 million dollars (5.8 million US).

Ottawa trustee Riley Brockington told the Citizen in support of the plan: "I have no problem with the Loeb Library or the Cognos Centre of Performing Arts," invoking the names of a grocery chain and a software firm, respectively.

But Annie Kidder of the parents group People for Education countered: "The minute you end up with a Wal-Mart Public School ... you are taking away the notion of the importance of public education, which is to provide every child, no matter where they live or the income of their parents, with an equal chance at success."

Corporate names need to be kept as far away from public education as possible. Although there probably wouldn't be a mandatory class to learn about all the great things that Wal-Mart does for society, the effects would still be there. Increased marketing and a general push towards heavy consumerism would tend to be a given. Students need to learn about language, math, science and the arts, not how to get a good buy at the expensive of slave labor in a far away country.

The Story Of Warren Joseph

As told by his sister Angela, Warren's story is that of an immigrant that became a decorated soldier. After his service he was not cared for by the military and fell into the dregs of society. Instead of rehab he found himself behind bars for three years.

9/11 Air: The Guility Attack The Guilty

Ex- E.P.A. Director Christie Todd Whitman is about to testify to Congress tomorrow about how she mishandled the situation after the towers collapsed. But first she gave an interview to WNBC to do what almost all Republicans do before having to testify, blaming someone else. To her credit, she is aiming high, going after Presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani. But of course, the truth lies in the middle, both of them are to blame for masking the quality of the air.

From The Daily News:

In an interview scheduled to run the day before Whitman testifies in front of Congress on Monday, she told WNBC-TV she warned the city of the risks almost every day.

And she said she believes illnesses killing first responders can be blamed on the city's lack of action.

"I'm not a scientist ... but I do [believe that]," she told WNBC's Brian Thompson.

Whitman specializes in political shillery (as do most good Bush appointees), definitely not having to do with anything scientific. She did run the E.P.A. and that certainly does not require any knowledge about science, right? Of course, she was aware that something bad was going on, two massive buildings collapsing into rubble would obviously have an adverse affect on the air quality. But for her to avoid all the blame is ludicrous. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is getting ready to question her tomorrow and he already knows she has difficulty telling the truth. Perhaps he can ban the phrase "I don't recall" before the testimony begins.

Afghanistan, Syria, Whats The Difference?

I am always amazed at those polls that come out showing a majority of Americans cannot identify country X on a map. I understand that most people do not know exactly where Turkmenistan or Cameroon but important nations that are in the news everyday shouldn't be hard to locate. Is it the fault of the schools, parents that aren't map savvy or perhaps its the media?

From Bob Harris:

Active Image

... in Syria.

Afghanistan would be three countries to the east, about where the right column is on this page probably is for you. Just past Iraq and Iran.

I guess there's a point where U.S. foreign policy is a near-total failure in so many countries, aggravating extremism in the name of fighting it, that even the media starts to lose track.

This is probably some graphics person's error. But it certainly doesn't make Anderson or the network look all that great -- especially when they're repeating the segment with neither a correction nor disclaimer.

Of course this has to be a minor infraction of the graphics department. I would assume that the CNN staff that deal with international news know a thing or two about geography. Yet this goof seems to mirror the national level of ignorance about places outside the United States or even one's hometown. It is great to see so many people that are against the war in Iraq now, but it would be nice if they knew where it was.