Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Jersey Going Green

New Jersey hosting one of the Live Earth concerts at the Meadowlands today to bring attention to the problem of climate change. The mood must be festive out there already, because Governor Corzine was in an extremely green mood yesterday when he enacted laws to curb greenhouse gas emissions. New Jersey is only the second state in the nation behind California to take such monumental action. Al Gore couldn't have been happier.


"From now on when I give my slideshow around the world I'm gonna include New Jersey," Gore said. Under the law, the state will have until 2020 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, and until 2050 to cut emissions by 80 percent. Power plants will have to become more efficient and cars will have to spew less carbon dioxide into the air. "It is the strongest global warming cap in the country," said Suzanne Leta Liou of Environment New Jersey.

No one has really said how New Jersey will do this exactly, but at least there is groundwork to build on. Perhaps Corzine can take some pointers from New York City's PlaNYC that has dozens of climate-saving ideas. Not only should Jersey being getting pointers, they should be a part of a growing chorus that demands the federal government do something about climate change. Too bad the current resident at the White House isn't bothering to listen.

Impeach Cheney

We all know this needs to be done, there is even a majority of people polled that want him to be expelled from office. There is a bill in the House (Res. 333) that can begin to make this possible, but only with more support from the Congress. The more people see this clip below from Robert Greenwald, the better chance we have for citizens to demand action from their Congress member.

From Brave New Films:

Petition: Watch Dick Cheney's impeachable crimes, then sign the petition demanding Congress begin impeachment hearings. 14 Representatives currently support H. Res 333, 3 articles of impeachment outlining Vice President Dick Cheney's crimes.

Coulter And Tweety: Living Under A Random House

Media Bloodhound happened upon an interesting piece of synergy last week about Ann Coulter and Chris Matthews. The Edwards/Coulter story lasted so long because Coulter was there to take the call, being on Chris' show for an entire hour. What reasonable and/or newsworthy relevance is there to an hour of the pathetic piece of crap that Ann is? Could it be because both Chris and Ann share the same publisher for their books?

From Media Bloodhound:

Ann Coulter’s Godless is published by Crown Forum, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, which is part of Random House. Who is Chris Matthews’ publisher for his upcoming book Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success? You guessed it - Random House.

But wait, there’s more.

Coulter showed up on Hardball this past Tuesday to promote the new paperback edition of Godless, which just happened to be released on the same day of her appearance. (Matthews also fails to point this out to his viewers.) And while this hour-long Coulterfest was nothing more than a deftly marketed, nationally televised promo book party posing as news, it only begins to touch on the disturbing synergy between the two. A little more digging reveals that Coulter's forthcoming book If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans: Ann Coulter at Her Best, Funniest, and Most Outrageous, published by the same Random House company, is scheduled for an October 2, 2007 release. And the release date for Matthews’ Random House publication Life’s a Campaign (his first, incidentally, with Random House)? Whaddya know: October 2, 2007.

The article goes into much more detail and is a very interesting read. If it seems odd to you that there are so many coincidences going on here, they probably aren't coincidences. Media giants like Random House love synergy of their products wherever they can get it. Having two authors on Hardball creating controversy doesn't get much better for book sales.

This is just another piece of evidence that Tweety is nothing more than a hack for whoever his employers are. He lives off of an impression that he is a credible journalist and media entity. The more he does this, the smaller Matthews will get over time.

Blogger Gets Fred's Free ABC Airtime Yanked

Cheers to Cliff Schecter on his successful push to stop Fred Thompson's deal to get free time on ABC. It had violated campaign fairness laws and with a little blogosphere push, ABC got rid of Fred. Like Cliff said, all it takes is a little shouting until you get stuff like this taken care of.

From Cliff Schecter:

I started a relatively lonely campaign about 2-3 weeks ago to get Fred Thompson--all but declared presidential candidate who admitted he was benefitting from free ABC airtime--off the radio there. And off their Intertube site.

I posted on it, and it was picked up by Kos, C&L, I cross-posted at Huff Post and then did some radio on it (The Young Turks, etc.). We ended up getting some print coverage and it blew up into a mini-brouhaha.

Well lo and behold, ABC is now talking about Fred in the past tense. I am not bragging here. Obviously what they were doing was so beyond the pale, that anyone who brought it up would have been able to put pressure on them. But I guess that is the point. Stand up and make yourself heard, and who knows what happens.

There is no reason for front-runner Fred to be getting free time from a network that does the same for all of the candidates. ABC should have known better. Then again, it is ABC.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Obama Girl Gets Copied For Hillary And Giuliani

The success of Obama girl on the web has prompted other fan sites to duplicate the method for their man...or woman.

Definitely not original and not even close to the hilarity of Obama Girl. Nice try guys, I can't wait for Fred Thompson fans to come out with their own. Will the model be Droopy Dog?

Bring On The Live Earth!

I know there are plenty of detractors out there who are calling this event inconsequential or even counter-productive for the environment. Despite their claims, the producers of the event are going to extraordinary lengths to make it a green event and raise awareness of the peril of our climate, all while having eight nine amazing concerts all in one day across the world. The surprise ninth event is going to be held on the National Mall down in Washington. Even if you don't have tickets, check it out free on the internet.

I am happy to say have already said that I'll be at the one outside NYC tomorrow. I was one of the lucky ones to volunteer in the morning so I can see the show in the afternoon. I'll be working the credentials area, so all of you media people be nice to the kid with the cane (still recovering from knee surgery unfortunately). If you are among the thousands headed out to Giants Stadium tomorrow, check out this handy Survival Guide from The North Jersey Record.

It is going to be a great time, but remember the mission. We all need to live on the planet in a more globally-conscious way. Make sure you take mass-transit to the event, stop using plastic bags at the market and think about eliminating your carbon footprint altogether.

You Know Its Over For McCain When....

Ron Paul has more cash on hand than the one-time front-runner John McCain. Paul may be a hero to Libertarians and some Democrats, but he is scorned by regular Republican voters. Considered a fringe candidate with internet appeal, the anti-war Paul stands no chance to win the party nomination. The fact that even Ron has more money than McCain is a terrible revelation for the Arizona Senator.

From USAToday:

Republican Ron Paul says he has $2.4 million in cash on hand "after raising an equal amount during the second quarter," our friends at ABC's Political Radar blog write this afternoon. As they say, that puts the presidential candidate "ahead of one-time Republican frontrunner John McCain, who reported this week he has only $2 million in the bank."

Political Radar adds that:

In an exclusive interview taped Friday and airing Sunday on This Week, Paul said his campaign is on a better trajectory than McCain's.

"I think some of the candidates are on the down-slope, and we're on the up-slope," said Paul.

Paul's cash on hand puts him in third place in the Republican field in that important metric, although he is well behind leader Rudy Giuliani, who has $18 million in the bank, and Mitt Romney, with $12 million.

Ooooooh. Double ouch. Not only does the money issue hurt, so does Paul rubbing it in on the upcoming Sunday TV talk show circuit. McCain may have the edge over Paul in the polls, but with so much time for shifts in the public sentiment, the time is now for crucial fundraising efforts. With McCain's campaign mishaps and his "I am Bush's lapdog" approach on the war, Paul is right, John is on the down-slope.

Olbermann Slams Boortz For Comparing Libby To Bill Clinton

Ah, speaking of idiotic conservative talkers from the last post, we have the ignorant Neil Boortz. Olbermann called him out as the Worst Person in the World for claiming that Clinton was convicted of the same crime as Scooter Libby. What a jackass!

D.C. Radio Cans The Falafel Factor

Oh boo hoo for Bill O. Except for Rush, O'Reilly is the latest failed conservative talker in the Washington, D.C. market. Despite the want of the corporate radio world to have conservative talk dominance everywhere they go, the generally liberal area of metro Washington shuns conservative talkers and radio in general. I'm sure we'll hear a hissy fit from Bill over this one. Not being on the radios of Congressmen going to work will be a tough one to handle for his massive ego.

From ThinkProgress:

Washington DC FM talk radio station 106.7 WJFK yesterday announced it was dropping Bill O’Reilly’s nationally syndicated show, and replacing it with a sports-talk program. The Washington Post reports today that O’Reilly’s cancellation is a “case in point” of how poorly conservative radio programs have fared in DC:

With the exception of Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk-radio hosts have struggled for years to find a wide audience on the local dial. While Limbaugh’s afternoon program remains popular on WMAL (630 AM), not many other conservatives’ programs have.

Yet despite their underwhelming performance, numerous right-wing radio hosts have been given repeated opportunities to succeed in DC. “Such radio stars of the right as Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage at times have literally had no ratings in Washington, as measured by Arbitron.”

The article also highlights the Center for American Progress' report on the corporate media world, showing how media consolidation has hurt the diversity of the airwaves. So take heart Bill, it isn't all your fault. Some of the blame can be laid at the feet of the people that hired you to blather incessantly on the radio.

Fighting Counter-Attack, Moore Challenges HMOs To A Debate

The Health Care industry is justifiably afraid of the impact that SiCKO can have on the American public. The multi-millionaire CEOs know that their policies kill thousands of people every year. Being the greedy bastards that they are, there is an effort to circumvent Moore by counter-attacking his assertions in the movie. However, Michael seemed to get his hands on a document that outlines the beginnings of a strategy.

From RawStory:

Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has published a memo written by a health insurance company executive on how to respond to his new film, 'Sicko,' which criticizes shortcomings in America's current system of private medical insurance.

"[T]he impact on small business decision makers, our members, the community, and our employees could be significant," wrote Barclay Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Capital Blue Cross. "Ignoring its impact might be a successful strategy only if it flops, but that has not been the history of Moore's films ... If popular, the movie will have a negative impact on our image in this community."


"As a health care industry educated viewer it is easy to pick out where Moore is cultivating misperceptions to further a political agenda, but you will also recognize that 80%+ of the audience will have their perceptions substantially affected," he wrote.

Fitzpatrick ends his memo by including a set of talking points written by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association to rebut key claims in Sicko. He was particularly concerned with the lumping of the not-for-profit Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurers in with for profit providers like Kaiser Permanente and Humana.

Moore has other ideas though. He called on Fitzpatrick to bring out his CEO to debate him in public on the facts. If they feel so strongly that Moore is misleading the public, then it should be a no-brainer to come out and assert their truth. Of course back in the land of reality, I doubt that day of debate will ever come.

This Message Approved By Rudy Giuliani?

If this is official, Rudy truly has some brass balls. The website at the end is his official site but I'm gonna guess this is comes from a mind that identifies with Stephen Colbert. Regardless, it is sick, sad and funny all at once.

"Independent" Bloomberg Supports NY GOP

Mayor Bloomberg's recent switch in party status may have created big headlines about his Presidential aspirations, but he is still in bed with the corrupt New York Republican apparatus up in Albany. He threw his support behind Joe Bruno and his quest to keep their two seat majority in the State Senate today.

From The New York Times:

On June 19, shortly before Mr. Bloomberg announced that he was leaving the Republican Party, he telephoned the state’s most powerful Republican, Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader.

The mayor wanted Mr. Bruno to know the announcement was coming. But Mr. Bloomberg, a major contributor to New York Republicans, also sought to reassure the majority leader that despite the change, he would still back Mr. Bruno and his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

“He will support us now, and as we go forward,” Mr. Bruno said, describing the conversation. “His support is his support.”

The call to Mr. Bruno was one of several conversations Mr. Bloomberg has had with Republicans in New York in recent weeks pledging his political support.

So while he promotes a new national image, he continues doing business as usual with Republicans at home. The support isn't just vocal, being a billionaire he is able and willing to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to state Republicans, especially for funds dedicated to holding crucial state Senate seats.

Eliminating that majority is essential to making progress up in Albany. As Majority Leader, Joe Bruno has held up many pieces of legislation that can move New York forward both economically and progressively. With Bloomberg's continued support, we can count him as being part of the problem, despite his positive environmental stance.

"Rape And Incest" A Buzzword

The GOP sucker that is going to run against the recovering Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is making news already in his brand new campaign. Joel Dykstra might have gone too far last year for his pro-life base by saying that terms like rape and incest are buzzwords meant to derail his plans to eliminate all abortions (condoned by the State that is, ya ever see The Cider House Rules Joel?).

From the DSCC:

South Dakota State Representative Joel Dykstra, who last year described rape and incest as a “buzzword” and said that “not everybody who says that really understands what it means,” declared his intention to run for the United States Senate today.

“Once again, the Republican party has turned to the fringes of the far right to find a candidate for Senate,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said. “Joel Dykstra showed how out of the touch with the mainstream he is when he belittled victims of rape and incest last year. With one comment, he showed that while he may be a fitting recruit for the Republican Party, he’s not fit for the United States Senate.”

Joel Dykstra’s Macaca Moment:

"I think 'rape and incest' is a buzzword. It's a bit of a throwaway line and not everybody who says that really understands what that means. How are you going to define that?” --South Dakota state Rep. Joel Dykstra (R-Lincoln County) on why the state legislature didn't include those exceptions in its abortion ban, April 20, 2006.

If this moron thinks he's going to win by being gung-ho about making abortions illegal, he might want to take a look at how the people of his state voted on the issue last year. South Dakota made it clear they do not want to block a woman's right to choose and they certainly won't pick this schmuck to do it.

DNC's Libby Ad: "Honor And Dignity"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Long Island Sends Armor To Afghanistan

Since the Pentagon has trouble outfitting our soldiers with enough equipment to keep them safe from IED and RPG attacks, police out in Long Island have begun to pick up some of the slack. They are sending hundreds of old body armor suits to the troops to outline their Humvees, far safer than their current protection from sandbags (I kid you not).

From ABC7:

This bullet proof vest weighs just two pounds, yet saves the lives of Suffolk police officers who mostly all wear them as part of the uniform.

"Every seven years, these vests are taken and set aside and replaced with new vests for our police officers," said Suffolk County executive Steve Levy.

This time around, instead of scrapping the vests Suffolk police are sending them on a second lifesaving mission to Afghanistan to protect our soldiers.

"These aren't going to be used by soldiers," said Sergeant first class Tom Seifert form Army. "But they will use these for vehicles, put them on the floorboards and in and around behind seats."

Congratulations to the Suffolk County Police Dept. for taking the initiative on this. The Pentagon has slacked on its duty to provide adequate armor for both our soldiers and their vehicles. Meanwhile the increasing number of attacks are killing our troops at a terrible rate. If this can help save the lives of soldiers while recycling the old vests, the benefits are both earth and life saving.

The Tight Knit That Is Washington

The White House shot back at the Clinton campaign today over Libby's commutation, saying that Hillary has chutzpah to call Bush on his special treatment for Scooter. After all, Mark Rich got a full pardon from the outgoing Clinton in late 2000. The inside story to all of this is how close Libby was to Mark Rich.

Check out the six degrees of separation from The Contra Costa Times:

Before entering government, Libby was a private attorney who represented billionaire international commodities trader Marc Rich.

Rich was indicted in 1983 by then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani on charges of tax evasion and illegal dealing with Iran during the American hostage crisis.

Rich fled to Switzerland. He also occupied a spot on the FBI's Most Wanted List for many years.

Giuliani, former mayor of New York, is now a leading Republican presidential candidate. He endorsed Bush's decision to spare Libby jail time even though he had tried to put Libby's client behind bars.

"After evaluating the facts, the president came to a reasonable decision, and I believe the decision was correct," Giuliani said in a written statement Monday evening.

Rich's fugitive days ended when former President Clinton pardoned him in January 2001, a move that prompted a congratulatory call from Libby to Rich.

Ah the tangled webs they weave inside the beltway.

The Red State Update

The two stereotypical southerners cover Romney's abuse of his dog Seamus and the effect it will have nationally:

Live Earth-New York Is In New Jersey

Live Earth is less than two days away and the complaints from New Jersey are already surfacing from the politicians across the Hudson. The concert is being billed as a New York event as it should be, despite the calls to rename it for the exact geographical location. I feel for the Garden State on this one, I really do.

I must say that I am honored to go out to the Meadowlands on Saturday. Somehow I got lucky enough to be a volunteer for the event. I'll have to wake up and get on a 7:14 AM train to Secaucus and then catch a bus to Giants Stadium to work my 9-12 shift. And I will love every minute being out there. Plus I'll blog about it afterwards, so stay tuned on Saturday night or Sunday morning for the details.

Nevertheless New York is the number one media market in the country. When you ask someone that doesn't live in the U.S. if they recognize either New Jersey or New York, they'll go with the latter. That is why it is Live Earth: New York. So please quit complaining.

NYC Overrun By Banks

AM New York had a good article this morning highlighting the burgeoning population of bank branches throughout the city. Just this past month the spot of the famous Second Avenue Deli was overtaken by a Chase Manhattan bank branch. The $33,000 a month rent had something to do with that. Banks can easily afford the ever-increasing prices to do business in the city, but local spots are not. Thanks to the high rents, New York is increasingly becoming more and more corporate.

From AM New York:

All told, 168 new bank branches opened in Manhattan in the years between 2000 and 2006, a 36 percent increase, according to state figures. This equates to four bank branches per 10,000 residents. The Bronx, by contrast, has just one bank branch per 10,000 residents.

"This growth is reflective of a strong economy," said Mike Smith, president of the New York Bankers Association, a trade group. "More branches mean more convenience, and this can only be viewed as a positive development."

But others see a booming bank presence as a threat to the city's character, and the latest signpost along the way to a bland, overly corporate New York.

"There is a difference between economic measures of vitality and social measures of vitality," said Rob Hollander, an East Village resident and activist. "There was a long time when we had few banks but a lot of art. Now there are a lot of banks, but is there a single artistic movement growing here?"

The New York of 2007 looks nothing like that of even ten years ago. Not only are banks sprouting up everywhere, many different corporate chains such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and now we even have the franchising of the Soup Nazi. When the "soup as art" spot that used to be on 55th and 8th Ave is being duplicated as a clean and hospitable chain all over the city (and now the nation) we don't have much to look forward to in terms of creativity.

The village was the heart of the counter-culture in the 60s, now it is becoming increasingly trendy. Don't get me wrong, I like Max Brenner's down on 2nd Ave in the East Village, but when is enough enough?

Did Some Beat Up Bush?

This clip of Bush announcing the commutation of Scooter Libby's jail sentence was widely noticed last week, but there is something we might have missed if it weren't for the keen-eyed blogger Blah3. Check out that spot above his left eyebrow. It looks like a bruise of some sort. Another bicycle accident perhaps, a smack from Cheney or maybe he just fell off a White House barstool.

SiCKO More Than Just A Flick

Michael Moore's latest documentary is a masterpiece that simultaneously heartbreaking, humorous and has the ability to stir the passions of human sympathy. While it's critics try to dispute the facts, many Americans know Moore is speaking the truth, the question is what will it do besides draw people to the theater?

Fortunately there are signs that the effect won't stop at the box office.

From Common Sense:

Moore generated much attention last month when joined the California Nurses Assocation and called for a single-payer system for the Golden State. But the filmmaker himself doesn't need to drop in to every town for citizens to step up the fight for affordable, quality, universal health care.

In Connecticut, The Universal Health Care Foundation is campaigning around the film to highlight how the state legislature failed to enact a comprehensive plan for universal coverage.

In Ohio, SiCKO has kickstarted a petition drive by the Single-Payer Action Network to put a "Health Care For All Ohioans" plan on the ballot in 2008. And there's increased attention on Pennsylvania's proposed single-payer plan, which the governor has pledged to sign if passed by the legislature.

Vermont Health Care For All gave away free SiCKO tickets to the uninsured and led a petition drive for a federal single-payer system.

This is just the beginning. The need for a better health care system in America is more important than just waiting for politicians to do the work for us. People want action and they want it now. Moore doesn't give all the answers, he just presents the facts. It is the citizens of our nation that must take the necessary steps in order to combat the Health Care industry and break the status quo. It is happening in the states listed above, is it happening in yours?

Biden Plays To The Crowd, Slams Bush, Giuliani, Etc.

Despite being in the pockets of the credit card industry, it has been fun listening to Joe Biden recently. Ever since he made that ignorant comment about Barack Obama, this candidate-without-a-chance has amused his audiences with strong words and speeches filled with "red meat." Today was no exception.

From RawStory:

At a campaign stop in Des Moines, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had some tough words for the President, along with two GOP presidential candidates. "This guy is brain dead," Biden said of Bush, eliciting a chorus of laughter from his audience. Known for his slips of the tongue, Biden added, "I know I’ll be quoted, I’ll be killed for that.”

Speaking of Bush's decision to commute the sentence of Scooter Libby, Biden stated, “This is a guy who is on the balls of his heels, here’s a guy who is lower off in the polls than any president in modern history and he goes ahead and he does something that just flies in the face of the sensibilities of the American people.”

The outspoken senator did not stop with the President, singling out Rudy Giuiliani, "I can hardly wait to debate Rudy Giuliani if he is their nominee,” he said. “Because I will eat his lunch."

He also called Mitt Romney crazy for his calls to go to war with Iran. I would love to hear some policy positions from Joe, perhaps something to do with reforming the Bankruptcy bill so that it helps regular people instead of his big campaign contributors. Of course we all know (Biden included) that he has no shot to win and is most likely doing this for a Cabinet position, so let the "red meat" continue.

Fireworks Above The City

I had a different vantage point last night, looking south from the Manhattan Bridge towards Governor's Island, but this clip is damn good enough:

Meet Fred Thompson: Nixon Mole

Fred Thomspon is known for many things. Law and Order actor, former U.S. Senator from Tennessee and even as a lawyer working in the Senate for the Watergate Committee. One thing you many not know about that last factoid is that he wasn't only working for the Senate, he was feeding information to President Nixon as the proceedings went on. Come meet the real Fred.

From The Boston Globe:

Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, "At That Point in Time," Thompson said he acted with "no authority" in divulging the committee's knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon's resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson's actions.

"Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. "Fred was working hammer and tong to defeat the investigation of finding out what happened to authorize Watergate and find out what the role of the president was."

Asked about the matter this week, Thompson -- who is preparing to run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination -- responded via e-mail without addressing the specific charge of being a Nixon mole: "I'm glad all of this has finally caused someone to read my Watergate book, even though it's taken them over thirty years."

Thompson's non-answer is at odds with the image he has tried to put out there. A tough independently-minded conservative he is not. Thompson's behavior is more in line with the other candidates he is facing off with.

His star is burning so brightly now in the polls because the voters believe he is something new and untainted like the rest of them. While he shares the "conservative" values that the current field has (save Ron Paul), he also shares the sleaze.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Not So Spectacular 4th

While we here in New York are hoping for dry weather tonight to see the fireworks extravaganza over the East River, there are many places across the country that are canceling their fireworks show due to fire danger. Many regions are experiencing severe droughts that cause extremely dangerous fire conditions. The South, Southwest, parts of Appalachia and even Minnesota are having a hard time accruing precipitation to meet the needs of their locales.

From USAToday:

A laser light show will replace traditional July Fourth fireworks in Burbank, Calif. Woodstock, Ga., canceled its fireworks and plans to shoot them off on Halloween.

Dozens of communities in drought-stricken areas are scrapping public fireworks displays and cracking down on backyard pyrotechnics to reduce the risk of fires.

"From a fire standpoint and a safety standpoint, it was an easy call," Burbank Fire Chief Tracy Pansini says. He recommended calling off fireworks at the Starlight Bowl because they're launched from a mountainside covered with vegetation that's "all dead."

Los Angeles and the surrounding Southwest are beginning to get used to dry conditions. Studies are beginning to predict perpetual drought in that region. Now many other areas have to deal with the changing climate and that includes not seeing fireworks on July 4th. Of course many people will set off illegal pyrotechnics despite the bans and fines. That is exactly why many communities are canceling their shows so that local fire departments can focus on putting out those fires.

For all those considering to put on their own show, please consider watching something on TV, you aren't only endangering yourself, you are putting your community at risk.

Family Guy Time Warp: Imagining President Gore

As usual, Family Guy's biting comedy pulls through, ripping Republicans and imagining a better world if Gore had remained President in 2000 (thanks Supreme Court).

Call The White House (Not The Switchboard!)

Much thanks to the CorrenteWire for doing due diligence in finding the telephone numbers inside the White House. No longer can you be stopped by the switchboard, the brave blog found direct numbers for several offices within the Executive Office along with the (separate?) Vice-President's office uptown.

From CorrenteWire:

Most of the numbers in the Directory match what I’ve been able to glean from open sources, so it looks authentic. The offices are taken from the White House site, and the numbers are formatted like so: 1-202-555-1212 / 1-202-555-1212, where the first number is via internet search, and the second, italic number is from the Directory:
The offices included in the Executive Office of the President.

  1. Council of Economic Advisers: (202) 456-1414 / (202) 395-5084
  2. Council on Environmental Quality: (202) 395-5750 / (202) 456-6224
  3. Office of Administration: (202)456-7921 / (202) 456-2861
  4. Office of Management and Budget: (202) 395-4840 / (202) 395-4840
  5. Office of National Drug Control Policy: (202) 395-6738
  6. Office of Science & Technology Policy: (202) 456-6021 / (202) 456-7116
  7. President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board: (202) 456-2352
  8. United States Trade Representative: (202) 395-7360 / (202) 395-3230

The offices included in the White House Office.

  1. Domestic Policy Council: (202) 456-1111 / (202) 456-5594
  2. Homeland Security Council: (202) 456-1700
  3. National Economic Council: (202) 456-1414 / (202) 456-2800
  4. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives: (202) 456-6708 / (202) 456-6708
  5. Office of the First Lady: (202) 456-7074 / (202) 456-7064
  6. Office of National AIDS Policy : (202) 456-7320 / (202) 456-7320
  7. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: (202) 456-1066
  8. USA Freedom Corps: 1-877-872-2677 / 1-877-USA-CORPS
  9. White House Fellows Office: (202) 395-4522 / (202) 395-4522
  10. White House Military Office: / (202) 757-2151

And the Vice Presidential Entity, whatever branch he ends up in:

  1. Shooter: (202) 456-9000 / (202) 456-1414
  2. Shooter’s Moll, Lynne: (202) 456-7489

Like Corrente asks, please be polite and don't yell too loudly into the phone when expressing your displeasure with our corrupt Decider. Better yet, get your liberal juices flowing and be creative. If they can come up with myriad ways of thwarting the constitution and our faith in good government, so can we by exposing it. Goodluck callers!

Lisa Simpson For President

Now here is an independent and forward-thinking (not to mention progressive) candidate who is set to launch her cartoon candidacy for President this weekend. None other than the lovable activist daughter of Homer Simpson. I'm sure this is just a ploy for the movie coming out at the end of the month, but it is still nice to see a fresh face on the scene.

She even made some remarks on Libby's commutation:

As the younger sister one of society's most notorious troublemakers, I've seen my share of injustice. Even Bart was never let off with such blatant disregard for the law. Being a proud American and citizen of Springfield, I am appalled to learn of President Bush's decision to commute Scooter Libby's sentence.

America is about liberty and justice for all, whether you're a C-average college cheerleader from Yale, a lapdog named Scooter, or a MENSA member with a 159 I.Q.. If I were president, I would uphold the principles and ideals laid out for us by our Founding Mothers and Fathers.

On this great American holiday, I wish delicious potato salad, yummy tofu dogs, and Duff Beer for all, and remember a vote for Lisa is the Intelligent Choice!

Okay I was wrong, this was put together by the New Organizing Institute which helps young people get involved in progressive politics. I assume they don't care much for the current slate of candidates, so introducing Lisa was a step they needed to take. Too bad she is perpetually eight years old and too young to run (even if you added the twenty years she has been on television) for the highest office in the land.


A funny presentation of the terrible things that can't stop coming out of Ann's mouth:

Bruno Cancels His Times-Union Subscription

Joe Bruno gets more pathetic as the days go on. To him, blocking out the noise (or print) will make all his troubles go away. So much for informing himself with the paper of record up in Albany, where he purportedly works. Why would Bruno pull such a childish act? He claims he got a call from a Times-Union ad rep and things went south from there.

From the Times-Union blog:

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno put out a statement today announcing he’s cancelling his Times Union subscription.

Bruno accused the paper of a “partisan, political agenda,” and also claimed his office received a call today from an advertising salesman at the paper, quoting him as saying that buying ads in the paper “would be an effective way to let the public know about the good things the Senator is doing and to get across his side of the story.”

Bruno characterized the call as telling his staffer “that I would need to buy ads in the paper if I wanted to get fair coverage.”

His office says the call came in this morning, and that the purported offer was declined.

The publisher of the Times-Union, Mark Aldam called the allegation “preposterous” and “baseless.” It wouldn't be beyond Joe to lie to cover his tracks, he is currently trying to do that with the FBI who is examining his corrupt behaviors. The funny thing is that the day before he canceled the subscription, the Times-Union printed a scathing story about his use of state aircraft to fly him to political events down here in New York City on at least three occasions. Hmmm, coincidence? I think not.

Now Your Intelligence Is Insulted??

At a White House press conference yesterday, one brave reporter had the guts to tell Tony Snow to stop insulting their intelligence. It was in reference to the commutation of Scooter Libby prison sentence. My question is, where have you been the last seven years?

The press has given George Bush break after break. It started on the campaign trail in 2000. It became shameful after September 11th and it remains pitiful even today amidst all the scandals. There are few journalists left (like Sy Hersh) that care about having their intelligence insulted so maybe we just had bad odds on having Tony Snow being called out. His job as spokesman for The Decider is to do whatever it takes to put a positive light on the constitutional shredding that Bush and Cheney take part of on a daily basis. So of course he'll try to insult your intelligence.

The role of the fourth estate is to use your intelligence to combat the lies of the Adminstration. Tell the truth and expose the facts instead of giving their side every opportunity to spin their deceitfulness on the American people. Instead of having shouting matches on cable news programs and printing government press releases verbatim in your newspapers, try to interject some truth.

It isn't about giving us your personal opinion, the goal is to not be a tool of the Administration or any governmental official, Democrat or Republican. They have their own ways of disseminating information besides using you in order to look legitimate. The AEI and PNAC will survive without your help, trust me.

Hopefully the brave words April Ryan spoke to Tony yesterday will have some effect on the White House Press Corp and others that cover Washington. Emphasis on "Hopefully." Please quit your jobs as mouthpieces of the Administration and become journalists again.

Olbermann Calls For Bush And Cheney's Resignation

When Keith gets going, there is no stopping his words of eloquence and conviction of tone. If this does not make the case for Bush and Cheney's resignation or impeachment for their most loyal supporters, I don't know what will.

Victor Rita Vs. Scooter Libby, Its All About Who You Know

Scooter Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, that is a fact. So was Victor Rita. A decorated soldier who served in Vietnam and the Gulf War got caught by lying to investigators, which led to a 33 month sentence in jail. He is still there, however Libby never saw the inside of a prison before Bush commuted his sentence. According to the President, the sentence was excessive, Libby had a lifetime of service to his country and his family had paid enough already and blah blah blah. So what about Victor Rita?

From Sentencing Law and Policy:

1. The parallel nature of the crimes. Like Lewis Libby, Victor Rita got caught up in a criminal investigation and ultimately was indicted on five felony counts based on allegations that he lied under oath as part of the investigation. And, like Libby, Victor Rita asserted his innocence and exercised his right to a jury trial. (Victor was convicted of all five counts at trial; Libby's was acquitted on one of five counts, but that may not matter much for sentencing purposes.)

2. The parallel personal history. Like Lewis Libby, Victor Rita is an atypical federal defendant because of his career in government service. Rita served 24 years in the Marine Corps, had tours of duty in Vietnam and the first Gulf war, received over 35 military metals and awards. Libby's pre-conviction resume is (equally?) impressive. The federal guidelines do not provide any formal breaks for government service or prior good works. But, with Booker making the guidelines advisory, federal judges have more discretion to consider these matters at sentencing (though Rita's sentencing judge decided just to follow the guidelines).

Since Victor Rita's crimes seems, in context, to be less serious than Lewis Libby's crimes, I view Rita's 33-month sentence as a possible benchmark for Libby's sentence. Moreover, I have heard that Judge Walton has a reputation as a tough sentencing judge, and so Victor Rita's 33 month sentence might even be viewed as just a floor for considering Libby's fate.

This post is from March and the author was wrong in the fact that Libby would get more time, he got three months less. Yet Bush deemed the sentence was excessive. Wouldn't that mean that Mr. Rita's term was also a bit too much? Obviously he does not have the connections to the President....and that is really all that counts.

News Corp Spreads NYC Tentacles

While Rupert Murdoch fights to take over the Wall Street Journal, he has begun spreading his enormous enterprise even further with local papers. After picking up a slew of Brooklyn and Queens newspapers, the company just acquired two Bronx weeklies. Of course this does not match the reach of the Wall Street Journal, but it counts in the Bronx, and it counts when looking at the end game.

From The New York Times:

The News Corporation, owner of The New York Post, bought two weekly newspapers in the Bronx yesterday, giving it a chain of neighborhood papers throughout three New York City boroughs that it hopes will complement The Post.


The Bronx Times, which covers the entire borough, and The Bronx Times Reporter, which covers the southeastern neighborhoods, have a combined circulation of about 40,000 copies. Last fall, News Corporation bought The TimesLedger newspaper group in Queens and The Courier Life group in Brooklyn, with 28 weekly papers, 27 of them geared to covering specific neighborhoods.

Next month, News Corporation plans to expand circulation of some of those in the Howard Beach and the Richmond Hill areas of Queens, and to introduce two new weeklies covering Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

News Corp, like many other media conglomerates is always looking to grow bigger and reach readers with a synergistic approach. The advertising is mentioned first because that is just business. Though what the the Times does not cover is the journalism. Locals count on small time reporters to tell them what is going on in their neighborhood, not just what is for sale at the local market. News Corp has a decidedly conservative bent that might not be appealing to readers in the Bronx. It is a shame to see these two small weeklies be sold to Murdoch.;

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fitzgerald Responds To Libby Commutation

Not surprisingly but extremely shocking news today came from the White House when Bush essentially pardoned Scooter Libby, saving him from jail time but not the fine and probation (for now). This is yet another sad day for the rule of law in America. Patrick Fitzgerald, the man that prosecuted Libby weighs in with a statement read by Keith Olbermann.

Wingers Equate Michael Moore With Britain's Bombers

The mind of a rightwing blogger must be a scary place. In a head full of hate and fear, these people will do anything to villify and discredit the left. Their latest target was Michael Moore and his new film SiCKO. They were in agony after he highlighted our crazy gun culture in Bowling for Columbine. We know they hate him for calling out the President in Fahrenheit 9/11. Now bringing our health care crisis into the national spotlight has them hopping mad and they would even go as far as tying him to the amateur terrorists in London over the last few days.

From RawStory:

One writer, Mark Steyn, who contributes to the National Review Online's Corner blog, posted an e-mail he received in order to identify the connection between Moore's Sicko and the British terrorists.

"'Would these be Doctors who work for the U.K. health care system so lavishly praised by Michael Moore? ...Perhaps they are not Jihadists at all but simply men driven insane by their employer? Maybe Michael Moore has spawned an entirely new breed of suicide bomber — the alienated UK health care worker'" Steyn quotes from one e-mail, after noting "I've been getting more than a few letters along these lines."

He also posted a second e-mail, and observed, "Now that Dr Mohammed Asha has been arrested in the Glasgow/London terrorist investigation, several readers have noticed that this artfully combines Michael Moore's two most recent enthusiasms, 'insurgents' and socialized health care." Steyn, however adds, "Mr Moore has yet to call these medico-jihadists 'Minutemen.'"

So because he was a doctor, does that mean we should watch out for all doctors, or just Islamic doctors? We found out Congressman Mark Foley is a pedophile, does that mean all members of Congress should be kept away from our children? I could go on and on with the ridiculous comparisons, but the point is made that connecting Moore to the bombings in the U.K. is a pathetic attempt to smear the filmmaker.

Giuliani Attacks NYC Firefighters Union

A respectful and honorable person would apologize for his mistakes on the horrific day of September 11th, but not Rudolph Giuliani. He would not own up to not providing communication systems that could have saved dozens if not hundreds of firefighters in the burning towers. Instead Rudy had his campaign attack the firefighters that are speaking out against him.

From The New York Post:

"I don't believe that a few disgruntled union members can diminish the many years of respect Rudy has shown them," Carbonetti added.

The comments came amid a fresh round of criticism aimed at Giuliani from Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy, who said he will rally his members against the ex-mayor - who's currently the GOP front-runner for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

Cassidy, whose parent union has already vowed to try to damage Giuliani's candidacy by not inviting him to speak at a candidates' forum in Washington, faulted the former mayor's performance in office - including his handling of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He also blasted Giuliani on the issue of terrorism, insisting he is not an "expert."

Rudy certainly tries to use his tenure as mayor to show he knows terror first hand. Yet that does not mean he knows how to deal with it on the international stage. He has zero foreign policy experience and declined to learn more about it with the Iraq Study Group because he would rather focus on enriching himself and his Presidential campaign.

Rudy's man Carbonetti fought hard against the protesting firefighters in order to win a PR campaign that could be fatal for "Hitler on the Hudson." In his quest for power, it is essential that the masses think of him as "America's Mayor" and not what he really is, a greedy, power-hungry Republican that only cares about winning, not about fighting terrorism effectively. NYC firefighters already know this, so should the rest of us.


Sen. Patrick Leahy was on Press The Meat yesterday and slammed the Bush Administration for stonewalling the investigation of the Justice Department. Not only did he bark at them, but threatened to bite by taking the matter to the courts if the White House does not comply by the beginning of next week.

McCain Out By August?

As donations surge on the Democratic side after the second quarter reports came out, it is apparent that some on the right are suffering. None of the Republican candidates came close to Obama or Hillary and John McCain is one of the biggest, weakest links. The Senator from Arizona was long considered the front runner and now he's having trouble mustering double-digit support. With only $2 million on hand, he cut another 50 people from the campaign in order to save money that is trickling in.

From The Huffington Post:

The financial difficulties have fueled speculation that McCain would drop out of the race but he dismissed that notion Thursday, calling it "ridiculous." He argued that voters won't start paying close attention until the fall, and said: "I don't know why I would even remotely consider such a thing in the month of June, or July."

Six months before primary voting begins, McCain is struggling for some semblance of momentum.

His popularity among Republicans has dropped since the start of the year. He has become intimately linked to the unpopular Iraq war, and, in recent weeks, he's drawn criticism from already wary conservatives for his support of Bush's immigration reform bill. He declined to participate in an early test of organizational muscle in the leadoff state of Iowa this summer, and, he's fighting the perception that he's yesterday's candidate.

Well if he won't consider it this month, McCain should seriously think about it for next month. There's already a "death watch" on him in the polls. I'm not 100% on him leaving next month, but there is no way he's making it to the primaries. A Presidential campaign these days needs massive amounts of capital and McCain does not have it.

Lord Bring Me Water

Alabama is one of many states across the country that are facing tremendous droughts (except for the Plains that is being flooded) this year. What is a Governor to do when he sees his state suffering? Pray to God we get some precipitation. Is that it Governor Riley? Yep.

From The Birmingham News:

With the state's weather forecasters not delivering much-needed rain, Gov. Bob Riley on Thursday turned to a higher power. The governor issued a proclamation calling for a week of prayer for rain, beginning Saturday.

Riley encouraged Alabamians to pray "individually and in their houses of worship."

"Throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for his blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty," Riley said. "This drought is without question a time of great difficulty."

Drought is a terrible thing, and prayer is a good thing to soothe the mind, but will it bring rain? Doubtful. Things that will help are calls to conserve water and for farmers to plant accordingly. Riley does not even bother addressing the issue of climate change either.

Computer models predict that growing regions will move north as the planet becomes hotter. The increasing amount of carbon dioxide will also (and already is) disrupt weather patterns, making conditions more erratic (See floods in the Plains, drought in the west and south). Governor Riley, faith without works is dead and if we do not do something collectively to face climate change, all the prayer in the world won't help us.

Joe Klein Debunks Lieberman Lunacy

Joe Lieberman, ever the dutiful Bush apologist claimed this week that we have the enemy on the run in Iraq. Where he comes up with this crap is beyond me, but Joe Klein was on Chris Matthews' weekend gig to shred his argument to bits.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Disappearing Marshes

Climate change is having dramatic effects across the world as can be seen with massive droughts and floods, extreme heat waves and melting ice caps. Though for some reason it is the little things that hit close to home that can have the greatest impact. Here in New York City the marshes of Jamaica Bay look beautiful from the air coming into JFK or actually being out in the bay on a boat. The problem is that in twenty years, they'll be gone.

From 1010 WINS:

No one knows for sure why the marshes are disappearing. A host of possible reasons is being looked at, from lack of sediment to renew the marshes flowing into the bay because of urban development to sea level rise to the city's four wastewater treatment plants feeding the system more nitrogen than it can handle.

"Research has looked at a handful of contributing factors, none of them have emerged as a clear cause," said Steve Zahn, a program manager for a marine resources unit for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Some are convinced that excessive nitrogen from the city's wastewater treatment plants plays a big role. The nitrogen, a byproduct from the water treatment process, feeds algae blooms, which then die off and are decomposed by bacteria which end up using a lot of oxygen, leaving less in the system.

The city acknowledges that more nitrogen than the system can handle is being discharged into the bay, but also says the science isn't definitive for that being the main problem of the marshland loss.

There is a main problem in this equation, just not a specific one. The problem is climate change fueled by the way we live on this planet. The increasing carbon output along with how we treat our waste is all indicative of a wasteful society that dumps its garbage on mother nature and pollutes the air that we all breathe. Losing the marshes of Jamaica Bay will be only one of many consequences of not cleaning up our act fast enough.

Robot Soldiers, Not Playing In A Theater Near You

Science fiction and action movies love to use robotic soldiers in their scripts. Whether it is Terminator or Star Wars, people love to see it on the screen. I don't know how popular it is going to be in real life though. iRobot is teaming up with Taser International Inc. to sell robots that can zap people for the Pentagon and police departments in the very near future. I kid you not.

From The Huffington Post:

BOSTON — RoboCops and robot soldiers got a little closer to reality Thursday as a maker of floor-cleaning automatons teamed up with a stun-gun manufacturer to arm track-wheeled 'bots for the police and the Pentagon.

By adding Tasers to robots it already makes for the military, iRobot Corp. says it hopes to give soldiers and law enforcement a defensive, non-lethal tool.

But some observers fear such developments could ultimately lead to robots capable of deciding on their own when to shoot and kill.

"It's one more step in that direction," said John Pike, director of, an Alexandria, Va.-based military research organization.

Thats right, the little harmless robot that cleans your floor is going to have a cousin that can stun you with 10,000 volts. The makers of Roomba claim that this venture is not intended for robots to have lethal force, but they can't deny this is a step in that direction. Tasers can kill people with heart conditions or under the influence already, so technically it can have lethal force with some victims. Hasta la vista baby to them.

John Edwards At The NALEO Conference

NALEO, or the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Conference was where John spoke yesterday in Orlando, Florida.

Al Gore: Moving Beyond Kyoto

The United States isn't even close to meeting the goals set by the Kyoto treaty several years ago. Other industrialized nations around the world are beginning to move towards compliance of the Kyoto Protocols but in these urgent times we need to do better than that. Al Gore knows this and he wants America and the world to step it up a notch (or for Bush to step up at all).

From The New York Times (Opinion Section):

...To this end, we should demand that the United States join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.

This treaty would mark a new effort. I am proud of my role during the Clinton administration in negotiating the Kyoto protocol. But I believe that the protocol has been so demonized in the United States that it probably cannot be ratified here — much in the way the Carter administration was prevented from winning ratification of an expanded strategic arms limitation treaty in 1979. Moreover, the negotiations will soon begin on a tougher climate treaty.

Therefore, just as President Reagan renamed and modified the SALT agreement (calling it Start), after belatedly recognizing the need for it, our next president must immediately focus on quickly concluding a new and even tougher climate change pact. We should aim to complete this global treaty by the end of 2009 — and not wait until 2012 as currently planned.

Al realizes that semantics are an important component to helping people realize the serious situation we face. Invoking the words of Reagan and Carter are also very good in helping to back up the point that this is a moral issue and not a political one. Read the whole piece here.

Arrested For Citing The First Amendment In NYC

Apparently talking about the Bill of Rights is now a crime in New York City. "Harassing a Public Official" is something you can be arrested for. Reverend Billy was charged with that and led away in handcuffs for using a bullhorn (not battery powered, as you can see in the photos) as he cited our so-called rights as stated in the Constitution. Shame on the NYPD and specifically Lieutenant Daniel Albano.

From ONNYTurf:

At Critical Mass on Friday the Reverend Billy was arrested for "Harassment of a Public Official". The Reverend was preaching about the First Amendment on the east side of the park near the north end, where the NYPD also parks a lineup of scooters before each Critical Mass.

Reverend Billy and his partner Savitri D were reciting the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the gathered police force when Lieutenant Daniel Albano, head of the NYPD's Legal Division, ordered the Reverend's arrest and detention at the 13th Precinct station. It is believed Albano is the public official Reverend Billy has been charged with harassing. The arrest is representative of the Bloomberg/Kelly approach to law enforcement, where specious and hollow charges serve a political agenda at maximum inconvenience to the individual charged.

The Critical Mass ride did not start out from Union Square. Some people were ticketed as they entered the park on bikes... very weird. And riders dispersed from Union Square around 8:30 and regrouped elsewhere and then had a un-harassed ride starting around 9pm. The NYPD did not follow cyclists to the regroup site for some reason - perhaps the NYPD is less interested when the ride starts later. It is hard to say how the NYPD mind works.

How sad is it when the fragile egos of NYPD officers can help to damage our constitutional rights. Will we see Lieutenant Albano disciplined for this outrageous behavior? I'm not holding my breath.

Elizabeth Edwards Talks About Her Exchange With Coulter

Elizabeth talked with Wolf Blitzer on CNN about the well publicized confrontation with Ann Coulter. Ann makes it about money, but Elizabeth wants the hate speech to be toned down. I can't agree more.

Reservist Business Owners Are $uffering When They Get Back

When one signs up to be in the Army Reserves, the attraction is that time served is minimal. Many Reservists have businesses and lives based on being here, not over in Iraq. Now that many are serving over there for fifteen months at a time, their home lives are wrecked when they get back. You would think that the government would help them out when transitioning back stateside, but they don't.

From Reuters:

Under U.S. law, reservists who work for someone else -- a private firm or local, state, or federal government -- have safeguards to get their jobs back. Yet those who work for themselves have no such guarantees.

With demands for more relief, the SBA recently began a pilot loan targeted to veterans, reservists and their spouses.

Kerry hailed it as a "good first step," but urged that its double-digit interest rates be lowered and said government must do more to publicize this and other such efforts.

William Elmore of the SBA claims it isn't their fault. When Congress wrote the legislation back in 1999, it wasn't set up to help the returning Reservists in a measurable way. That is why Senator Kerry is proposing to fix the system. His proposed legislation would give grants of up to $25,000 and loans of up to $100,000 without any collateral. There are over 60,000 self-employed reservists and they need this assistance desperately. President Bush likes to talk about supporting the troops (often without backing up the statement with good policies) so this would be a good thing to help pass quickly, giving our brave men and women in the Reserves their lives back when they return.