Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bonjour du Paris!

I must say it is very interesting to see "Blogger" turn the language around to French, even though I did not request any such change. Oh well, its good I practice un petit francais while I'm here....or at least use some of what one of my friends calls "Fra-anglaise". One example would be "merci-buckets." Anyways, I must say this city is incredible, here's a few pics from today's outings into the city.

Art is even on the trees here, forget the Louvre or the Musee d'Orsay.

A pillar of the Eiffel Tower, complete with overpriced souvenir shop.

Can you guess where I'm standing?

Georgie Hires More "Illegals" Than Anyone

It's getting harder and harder to be the world's greatest Preznit (not to be confused with a President). Not only does the left disapprove of him, the right is hitting George hard too for talking tough wingnut-ese and not following up on it. Specifically we are talking about immigration reform, and the right's quest to see their xenophobic delusions realized. One GOP leader had some harsh reality for him..

From The Huffington Post:

If President Bush is serious about getting tough on U.S. employers who hire illegal aliens, he can start with his own administration, which employs thousands of unauthorized workers, says the top Republican on the House immigration subcommittee.

A 2006 audit showed federal, state and local governments are among the biggest employers of the half-million persons in the U.S. illegally using "non-work" Social Security numbers -- numbers issued legally, but with specific instructions that the holders are not authorized to work in the U.S.

That top Republican just happens to be Presidential (non)candidate Duncan Hunter. For the most part he is an unknown outside the military community. After the reversal of fortune in Congress' killed his powers of defense appropriations, so now he is out looking to be another Tom Tancredo. Both him and Tom are barely blips on the radar screen, so look for more Bush-bashing from these types. There is plenty to hit Bush with on when it comes to solvency of our democracy and the war in Iraq. Xenophobes like Hunter attacking him is just icing on the cake.

Why Does CNN Approve Of Risky Mines?

Kyra Phillips and CNN in general like to tout their own horn when it comes to hard-hitting journalism, but it seems that the only thing they can claim is spewing hot air with no "journalism" to speak of. CNN has had Crandall Canyon mine owner on their network several times (other stations included) yet has never asked him actual questions about the mine's safety and the industry in general. In fact, the coverage gives Murray and others like him a free pass on their negligence.

From The Huffington Post:

Phillips had the chance to ask Murray the kinds of questions that could expose dangerous mining practices -- and possibly save lives in the future. Instead, she let the interview become yet another opportunity for Murray to buff his image as the grieving surrogate father of the miners that were killed under his supervision.

Phillips ended the softball interview not by pressing Murray on the day's million-dollar question -- Did you place the recovery of more coal from your mine above the safety of your miners? -- but by asking Murray "How are you holding up?"

She then offered Murray the CNN stamp of approval, telling him: "I appreciate your time... and your honesty."

I could give a damn about how Murray is feeling, and there is definitely no honesty here, nor any integrity to give the network and Kyra "air-head" Phillips. If she had half a brain or soul, she would have bags under her eyes....because no decent person can read the teleprompter and avoid real questions about a terrible tragedy and not be burdened by their sins.

It would be great to see the families of the miners confront her for her dishonest interviews before they tear into Bob Murray for his criminal negligence. Instead, we have this crap that comes out of CNN, shame on them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Al Franken Posts His First Ad

Go Al Go!

McCain Could Be Kicked Out Of Office In 2010

McCain's Presidential goose is cooked for next year already, but that may just be the beginning of his troubles. The Senator had extreme difficulty finding support in his own state of Arizona and placed fourth in the AZ straw poll, Duncan (nobody) Hunter won that little contest. Now it seems that lack of enthusiasm is showing itself with the office he already holds.

From Political Wire:

In a hypothetical 2010 head-to-head race for Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) seat, 47% of those polled would vote for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), 36% for the sitting Republican senator, and 17% were undecided, according to a new Behavioral Research Center poll.

Janet is well liked and already more than a year into her second term as Governor. The local GOP couldn't even field a decent candidate to run against her last year. She'll be a formidable challenger to McCain's incumbency. He has been considerably weakened since he began this second run at the White House. Janet can definitely be the woman to deal the knockout blow.

NY GoOPer Goes After Spitzer's Dad

Roger Stone is a seasoned Republican consultant who has used dirty tricks on his opponents since he began working for Richard Nixon. Now that he is in New York, he has turned his vitriol against our own Governor. Stone left a threatening message on the answering machine of Eliot Spitzer's dad Bernard earlier this month. When he was confronted about it, he claimed that the Democrats must have mimicked his voice to play a trick of their own.....are you kidding me? Is that best defense you've got?

From The New York Times:

The message, left at Bernard Spitzer’s Manhattan office just before 10 p.m. on Aug. 6, says that Mr. Spitzer, 83, a wealthy real estate developer, would be “compelled by the Senate sergeant at arms” to testify about “shady campaign loans” he made to his son during Eliot Spitzer’s unsuccessful campaign for attorney general in 1994.

Mr. Winner’s committee has been holding hearings into a scheme by some of Governor Spitzer’s top aides to use the State Police to embarrass the Senate Republican leader, Joseph L. Bruno. Senate Republicans have said they were considering reviewing Bernard Spitzer’s 1994 loans to his son.

“If you resist this subpoena, you will be arrested and brought to Albany,” the message says, according to a transcript. The message also calls Governor Spitzer a “phony” and a “psycho.”

Bernard Spitzer’s lawyers hired Kroll Associates, the private investigative firm, to trace the message, and their report was included with the letter to Mr. Winner. The firm traced the number that appeared on Mr. Spitzer’s caller identification system, linking it to listings under the name of Mr. Stone’s wife, Nydia.

I'm sorry, but trying to make believe that it was someone else calling from your wife's phone is just too easy to uncover in this day and age. He may have been good at his craft in the 1970s (and even as part of the Bush recount team down in Florida seven years ago) but now it seems he has lost his edge....and is just a plain-old dirty man.

Foaming At The Mouth For Iran Is The Same As It Was For Iraq

Robert Greenwald's new clip in the Fox Attacks! series is a good one. The warmongers are playing from the same textbook now over Iran as they did four years ago about Iraq. Will the public fall for the same crap as they did before? I certainly hope not.

Mitt Romney And His Xenophobia

Mitt must hate undocumented immigrants, or at least right-wing conservative dogma tells him to do so. Romney lashed out at cities that are deemed sanctuaries for 'illegal immigrants,' including New York City. It was a clever way for Mr. Make-Up to attack his primary foe Rudy Giuliani. Of course Giuliani replied that he hates undocumented workers too. We wouldn't want to deny him the privilege of hating immigrants either of course.

From Yahoo News:

"Immigration laws don't work if they're ignored. That's the problem with cities like Newark, San Francisco and New York City that adopt sanctuary policies," an announcer says in the ad, which runs in New Hampshire and Iowa. "Sanctuary cities become magnets that encourage illegal immigration and undermine secure borders."

Romney and Giuliani have jabbed over illegal immigration in recent weeks. The former Massachusetts governor says Giuliani promoted New York as a haven for illegal immigrants when he was mayor. Giuliani aggressively denies it, insisting he cracked down on lawlessness of every kind (except for his ex-police chief Bernard Kerik - my own insertion here).

"Legal immigration is great," Romney says in the new ad. "But illegal immigration, that we've got to end. And amnesty is not the way to do it."

Mitt does a great job of giving red meat to the xenophobic-wingnut community while going after Rudy in one fell swoop. On top of that, Rudy got to get his racist sound bite in as well. All is well in Republa-land today.

McCain Is Getting Off The Bus

No, not the proverbial bus of campaigning for President. He still thinks he has a shot to rebuild his run for office (though he may be the only one). The Straight-Talk Express is about to be sold and replaced with a much cheaper version. As we all know, his campaign is nearly out of money, with very little cash on hand when you include all the debts. It helped the balance sheet when most of his staff left the doomed effort, but because money is tight, there are going to have to be more cuts.

From the New York Magazine:

John McCain’s new steward of the Straight Talk Express, campaign manager Ricky Davis, says that he’s been uncovering old bills and invoices for extravagant purchases that just don’t jibe with McCain’s image as a frugal-minded maverick. Among them are whoopingly high receipts for a souped-up Straight Talk bus McCain used on the campaign trail, which came complete with flat-screen televisions and elaborate “art wrap”—the cellophane-y stuff that’s used to cover the bus with an image. “Every $10,000 counts now,” says Davis, who replaced Terry Nelson and McCain’s chief strategist, John Weaver, who resigned this summer after filings showed they steered McCain’s campaign off the road by spending too much on consultants and staff, among other things, and not doing enough fund-raising. Davis says he’s been able to balance the books a bit by focusing McCain’s bare-bones operation on three states—Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina—and finding a cheaper Straight Talk Express. “The next time we roll it out, it’ll be much more like the original version.” What did the original look like? “A piece of shit.”

Ouch! Time to tighten that belt John.

Bush On IraqNam

Cenk Uyugr takes on the comparisons:

Does Anyone Hear The Screams?

Would you try to help someone that was being victimized by a criminal? Someone that was being robbed, raped or about to be murdered? Would the Good Samaritan in you prevail or the apathetic "its not me" take over? I would like to think that I would be the Good Samaritan, but no one really knows until you are placed in that situation.

One time when I was working for Kerry/Edwards I saw a friend run over by a truck while crossing the street with a "Walk" sign during a sign-waving rally. The people in the car were yelling and screaming obscenities at us and didn't pay attention to their driving. Once she was struck, they sped off, committing hit and run in addition to assault with a deadly weapon.

In the confusion I tried to write down the license plate of the rapidly disappearing vehicle, only being able to call the police and give a description of what it looked like. I felt bad that I couldn't write that plate number down, because it would have brought the driver to justice, who ultimately got away despite the best efforts of the Tucson Police Department.

Thankfully, miraculously, she survived the impact. Even with bruises all over her body and a serious concussion, the paramedics and the doctors at the hospital helped to save her life. Truly a miracle. Even though we lost that election four days later, knowing she was on the road to recovery made up for the sadness of Bush's re-election.

Well now Bush has had almost another three years in office since that late October night. The President and his men are continuing their assault on our country. They are committing murder in a way. By leaving our troops in Iraq, by keeping a despicable foreign policy
and by stabbing our democracy to death with their disrespect of the constitution and the separation of powers.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy is threatening to hold Bush in contempt, shouting loudly at the press. They hear him, and they dutifully report it to their publications, just as they dutifully report Bush's statements verbatim. Then the pundits go at it, conservatives dismiss it as political theater, while the liberals decry Bush's continuing assault.

Yet despite all of that, who is really listening? Most Americans frankly do not give a shit. 23/ lays it out perfectly at Huffington Post, with a neat little graph that makes it easy to see what the public cares about. So while Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse and whatever other celebrity fucks their lives up, the media writes down the details of their sexcapades, drug usage and alcoholic binges in order to keep the masses glued for the next round, and the masses hear the screams of our nation in the background, pretending that....."at least its not me."

America needs to wake up, and in a hurry.

Not-So-Breaking News: Liberals Read More Books

It makes perfect sense to me that a new study shows that liberals read more than conservatives. Simply, liberals want to learn more and have a larger intellectual appetite. It isn't that the left is necessarily smarter, but their minds are much more open than the restriction of thought that leaders in the conservative world like to maintain.

The first person that comes to mind is Frank Luntz, who has come up with many alliterations and catch-phrases for the Republican party (as well as some Democrats). Simplification is their key asset to make sure their flock stays in line with ideological priorities. Keeping things "black and white" makes things easier for them, even though the world is full of shades of gray.

From the AP:

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress' most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives.

She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion."

Conservatives are quick to disagree of course. Mary Matalin was interviewed for this article as well and put in her two cents. First she says that Schroeder shouldn't interject her opinion....and that conservatives are getting more of their reading material online. Well Mary, I hate to tell you, but online readership, especially on the blogs is heavily liberal. In fact, the largest Democratic blog gets more traffic than the top 50 sites in the conservative blogosphere. In addition to that, blogs on the left are much less top-heavy.

Lets face it, liberals like to read more. We are more interested in finding out the nuances of the gray shades than simply saying it is "us vs. them" all the time. The world isn't that simple. The difference is that liberals want to learn about it and conservatives want to make it easy so they don't have to think.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jack Metcalfe, A Democrat For Alaska

Rep. Don Young has been "representing" Alaska in the House of Representatives for far too long. Recent investigations have shown that he is a corrupt mo-fo that only cares about Don Young. Due to that mo-fo status, Young has a lot of money stocked away for someone that wants to challenge him like Metcalfe, so go and throw him a couple (hundred) bucks or whatever you can to help unseat Donny boy.

Blogger Goes After Thompson For Breaking FEC Laws

Considering Fred Thompson hasn't even declared his nomination for President yet, the campaign is in a whole lot of trouble. First we find out that his staff is sick of him and his wife is practically running the campaign, then his highly anticipated fundraising numbers fell flat. Now it turns out he might already be violating FEC rules.

From News For The Left:

Fred Thompson is breaking the law and it's time somebody did something about it. So, this morning, I filed an FEC Complaint against him. For far too long, he has been ignoring the letter and spirit of Federal Election Law for his own political benefit. It reeks of the same disregard for the law that we have seen from the Bush Administration, Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham, Tom Delay, and Mark Foley.

By filing this complaint, posted below, the FEC can now proceed with action to right this injustice. According to FEC regulations, Thompson will have 15 days to respond to the complaint. Then, their lawyers will write an opinion on the basis of the complaint.

It is my contention that he has violated the 'testing the waters' exemption of election law. He has been presenting himself as a candidate for President, he has been raising large sums of money beyond what would be required to explore a possible candidacy, and he has signed a long term lease on a headquarters for his campaign. He has even spent advertising dollars, which are specifically prohibited by the law.

Lane Hudson has also been known for exposing the notorious pedophile and ex-Congressman Mark Foley. If he can help bring down that sicko, he definitely has a shot at taking down Fred Thompson....that is if Fred doesn't bring himself down first. Laziness is a bitch, Freddie should have just filed so he can drop out that much quicker.

Spitzer And His Aides Are Cleared, Now Back To Brunogate

It must be a bad day to be Joe Bruno. District Attoney David Soares cleared Eliot Spitzer's aides of any criminal misconduct in the whole brouhaha over state troopers and helicopters. The only one that did anything really wrong was Bruno himself. Lucky for him, the NY State Legislature bailed him out and re-wrote the laws in his favor while making it seem that they are cutting the type of waste that Bruno loves to partake in. Soares didn't want to comment, but there were a few snippets that did come out today.

From The Times-Union:

Soares on Monday said he would not comment on the findings, but a person familiar with the investigation said the district attorney has concluded that aides to Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer broke no laws in what a report by Cuomo described as a political scheme to discredit Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.

Soares did say he plans to release his report within the next couple of weeks. He said he wanted to respect the process and was sticking to his goal of a "dispassionate" review of the matter.

"I don't want to participate in the political theater," said Soares, a Democrat who bucked the Albany County party establishment in 2004 to win a primary for the Democratic nomination.

Soares, the source said, also is considering commenting in the report on how Bruno, in particular, dragged his office into a needless investigation after Cuomo's office already had concluded no laws were broken. And, according to the source, Soares is weighing voicing his irritation that Cuomo's investigation was so poorly done that his office "had to start from scratch."

Now Bruno and even Spitzer have no comment on the matter. No worries for Eliot of course as he and his staff have been fully vindicated. Bruno on the other hand, still has his hands full with the FBI. Cuomo's name has also been tarnished for his terrible investigation and overall willy-nilliness (sp? or is that even a word?). The AG goes after bad guys and for well-deserved reasons, but not in this case. Trying to score political points is not as important as pursuing a matter after thinking it out first.

Bruno is still trying to hold on to the matter though. He has pressured the legislature and the State Ethics Commission to look at Spitzer's aides, but after Soares report, there shouldn't be too much to follow except for the story slipping slowly out of sight.

"Holy Joe" In The History Books, What Will It Look Like

Cenk Uyugr takes a look at how Lieberman will be remembered when my kids or grandkids open their history textbooks. Will he be under "warmonger" or "political egomaniac?" Time will only tell.

Criminal Negligence At The Deutsche Bank Bldg?

All of New York City was saddened to hear about two of NY's finest who lost their lives battling the blaze at the partially demolished Deutsche Bank building next to the World Trade Center this past weekend. Now as we are a few days past, details are coming out that the pipe caring the water was broken and the valve shut. Due to that, there was no water for firefighters to use inside the building, and ultimately led to their deaths.

From the Gothamist:

Not only was a standpipe valve shut off (NY Times: "effectively cutting off the only source of water for firefighters battling" the fire), but even if the valve was open, water wouldn't have been able to travel through the pipes because there were many cracks. Wait, actually it wasn't just shut - a piece of the pipe was actually found in the basement. Seriously, WTF.

The News also reports that stairwells were "sealed" and that the "supposedly 'fire-retardant plywood' used to build decontamination chambers on the floors for workers clearing asbestos and other toxic substances quickly went up in flames." A source told the Post that the contractors could be possibly be charged with criminally negligent homicide. Needless to say, there's a stop-work order at the building.

Mayor Bloomberg said, "We are using every possible resource to find out how this fire started and what went wrong. Certainly, we owe that to Firefighters Beddia and Graffagnino." And here's the city's response to the situation so far - downtown residents, the city still says the air is clear (grain of salt not included).

Oh and Bloomberg said he does not want to look into charges of criminal negligence at the time. Who the F are you Bloomie to say that? There have been so many mishaps at the WTC already, now is not the time to add more of them to the heap. Of course, who is the Mayor to listen to me or anyone else that cares about justice for the men that died or the air quality downtown with burning asbestos a couple days ago.

The city's response is indeed terrible. Wouldn't it be nice if we had an independent commission to investigate everything from September 11th, 2001 until now? Make sure you click that last link and sign the petition.

Bush Has A Manual On How To Deal With People

When I say people, I mean the public that doesn't like him enough to wear anti-Bush t-shirts and protest his ass. Since three out of four Americans and a higher percentage of foreigners detest his Presidency, this manual covers a lot of people. It is a sad situation when things have to come to this between the President and the people he claims to represent. When you can't even face the public, and issue guidelines for the secret service and local police makes you wonder what country we really live in.

From ABC's The Blotter:

"As a last resort, security should remove the demonstrators from the event," the manual instructs. The government turned over a heavily redacted version of the manual to the ACLU in the course of the lawsuit.

The first step to keeping demonstrators out of events, the manual tells the president's event staff, is to encourage the Secret Service to "ask the local police department to designate a protest area...preferably not in view of the event site or the motorcade route."

Inside the event space, the manual advises, White House advance personnel should preposition "rally squads" that can swarm any protesters at the event and "use their signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform."

The rally squads can be formed using "college/young republican organizations, local athletic teams, and fraternities/sororities," the manual notes.

The squads can "lead supportive chants to drown out the protesters (USA!, USA!, USA!)," it suggests.

The information was made public when the ACLU successfully sued the White House after ejecting a couple that were protesting the President. Jeffery and Nicole Rank were forcibly removed from a taxpayer-funded Presidential trip that led to their arrest. No charges were pressed, but the incident was enough to make the couple sue Bush for infringing on their rights. The manual didn't really take those little things into account...only to make Georgie look good and not have to deal with citizens that want to express their First Amendment rights.

Silly, I know, those 'rights' are so pesky for Bush and his thugs.

Dear Mr. President

Just in case you don't know this song by Pink, you should, and so should the person that it is addressed to.

Daily Show Goes To Iraq

You may find it hard to believe, but all of those hard-hitting Comedy Central reports from Baghdad have been done using a green screen. Yep, completely fake. I know, it was a huge surprise to me too. Well now you are going to see the real thing, as Daily Show correspondent Rob Riggle went to the Iraqi capital and other parts of Iraq last week to film segments and entertain the troops.

From Yahoo News:

Correspondent Rob Riggle, who has combat experience as a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, spent five days in Iraq last week with "Daily Show" writer Kevin Bleyer and field producer Glenn Clements. They went with a USO sketch comedy tour known as "Operation Feel the Heat" -- armed with small, handheld cameras -- and also brought back video that will be used for "Daily Show" about the troops and their lives in Iraq.

Although "Daily Show" spends time on topics related to Iraq and often has one of its correspondents appear against a greenscreen that simulates the Middle Eastern country, it's the first time the show has gone the extra step and visited Iraq.

Riggle, Clements and Bleyer visited several bases -- including Balad Air Force Base near Baghdad and two forward operating bases -- over five days. They performed with other comedians in 120-degree heat on makeshift stages, including a basketball court, then in between shot short videos for "Daily Show."

I never knew Riggle was in the Marines before, though when you look at him, I guess he has that jarhead look to him. As an actual Marine, he knows what he is doing there especially when it comes to interacting with fellow troops. "Actual" networks found out about the news late last week, probably making them wonder how wide the credibility gap is between them and the Daily Show. I would hate for them to realize it, but that gap has already been closed.

A Hero? Or Just A Yankee?

As much as this Dodger fan hates to admit it, it is ok to be a Yankee fan. There is nothing wrong with supporting your team, even if it is one based on buying all-stars with ridiculous amounts of money. What is not cool, is claiming something you are not, like a hero, or "America's Mayor."

Although Rudy has backed away from the false statement that he was at Ground Zero as much or if not more than the rescue workers, it is interesting to see where he did spend his time. Giuliani used 9/11 for photo-ops, to look brave and heroic when was he was neither. Rudy was looking for free press, and where would there be a better place than a Yankee game that was televised for a national audience?

From Salon:

Aug. 18, 2007 | On Friday, a New York Times story examined Rudy Giuliani's schedule in the months after 9/11 to verify his controversial claim that, like rescue workers, he'd spent long hours at ground zero, and so was "in that sense ... one of them." In fact, the Times found, he only spent 29 hours at the terror site between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16.

What was he doing instead? Giuliani's beloved New York Yankees made it to the World Series in 2001. We decided to compare the time he spent on baseball to the time he spent at the ruins of the World Trade Center.

The results were, considering the mayor's long-standing devotion to the Bronx Bombers, unsurprising. By our count, Giuliani spent about 58 hours at Yankees games or flying to them in the 40 days between Sept. 25 and Nov. 4, roughly twice as long as he spent at ground zero in the 90 days between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16. By his own standard, Giuliani was one of the Yankees more than he was one of the rescue workers.

A Yankee fan? I don't doubt that about Mr. Giuliani. As for being a vital part of the aftermath of 9/11, he doesn't even come close.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kucinich Led Debate's Online Poll

How about that, Kucinich in the lead for something concerning the Presidential race. In all fairness, I heard him live at the Presidential forum during YearlyKos and he said a lot of the right things. His pro-life positions and then the abrupt change before entering the 2004 race last time makes me suspicious, but overall he knows what to say. Though actually being able to do anything, thats another matter.

Anyways, here is the online results on who won this week's forum:

Hannity Hearts Giuliani

From the world of fair and balancedness, Sean Hannity came out to help Rudy Giuliani raise some cash this month in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago. Of course any pundit/commentator is free to do whatever they like for any candidate under the sun, but spare me the bullshit about Sean being even-keeled on the issues. He is a certified winger that is loved by his wingnut followers. Even Rudy Giuliani likes to swim in the same mud that Hannity cooks up.

From The Daily News:

In a little noticed event this month, Hannity - co-host of Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes" and host of a popular WABC radio show - introduced the Republican front-runner at a closed-door, $250-per-head fund-raiser Aug. 9 in Cincinnati, campaign officials acknowledge.

In so doing, some believe that Hannity - while clearly a commentator paid to express his opinions - crossed the line from punditry into financial rainmaking for a presidential candidate whose bottom line is now better for it.

"Fox's in-kind contribution to Republican politicians in the form of softball coverage is one thing," said Steve Rendall, senior analyst at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a left-leaning media watchdog group. "But this is the first time they have crossed this line into fund-raising."

Fox News' Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president of programming says that Hannity is not a journalist (thanks Sherlock!) so he can do whatever he pleases. But when the shoe is on the other foot (as in the case of Dan Rather attending a Dem fundraiser in 2001), others at Fox News have cried out in agony, like one of my favorites over there, the Loofah King himself:

"Now Rather gave a speech at a fund-raiser, so money changed hands. I mean, I wouldn't do that," O'Reilly said on his own Fox show, "The O'Reilly Factor."

Hannity's leanings for Giuliani have been well-documented. The Hotline, a political journal, has noted that through July 15, Giuliani had enjoyed 115 minutes of free face time on Fox - more than half of that on "Hannity & Colmes." His airtime on Fox was 25% higher than any other Republican candidate, data show.

The Aug. 9 fund-raiser where Hannity worked the crowd for Giuliani, held at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse in downtown Cincinnati, was closed to the press. No known recording of his comments exist.

Seems like another typical day for Fox News and its many personalities. Is there really anyone out there that still thinks this network offers real journalism?

More "Progress" In Iraq

While George Bush touts the cooling down out in the Anbar province (thanks to deals with Sunni militias) other parts of the country are falling apart fast. Even though Baghdad has thousands more U.S. troops than before, chaos still rules the city. Things are even worse farther down in Basra where the British are planning on leaving.

From The Times Online (U.K.):

“I regret to say that the Basra experience is set to become a major blunder in terms of military history,” said a senior officer. “The insurgents are calling the shots . . . and in a worst-case scenario will chase us out of southern Iraq.”

Gordon Brown, the prime minister, has agreed with Bush that no decision will be made to withdraw until after General David Petraeus, the US commander, delivers a report to Congress next month on the progress of the Americans’ “troop surge”.

But the British are expected to pull back to a single base at Basra airport soon in preparation for withdrawal.

So for Bush's sake, PM Gordon Brown will wait for the Petraus White House report next month and then leave Iraq as soon as possible. It is a blunder for the Brits, but it is only because Tony Blair played the role of Bush's lapdog oh so well. At least Brown will be seen as the one who gets the U.K. out the mess.

If Iraq Were An Office.....

This is what it may look like:

Tragedy In the Mines Needs To Spark Action In D.C.

The stories that come out of Utah are absolutely heartbreaking. The six miners that were lost in Crandall Canyon has been devastating to their families, the state of Utah and the entire nation. The three rescue workers killed last week added to the misery. With all the tragedy, you would think that everyone would be on board to help solve the problems that contribute to the deaths of multiple miners every year. Yet, that just isn't the case.

The owner of Crandall Canyon is a wealthy financial supporter of the Bush Administration and the man that runs the U.S. Mine Safety office has been a mine owner himself. The revolving door policy in Washington applies here too, and it has done nothing to help those that risk their lives mining our natural resources. It would be great to see action from the White House, let alone in the halls of Congress, but there are only a few that speak out, like AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney.

From The Huffington Post:

The disaster still unfolding at the Crandall Canyon mine did not have to happen. It was preventable--as were the deaths of 12 coal miners last year in the Sago Mine in West Virginia. As have been many, many more deaths of workers in America's coal mines and factories, fishing vessels, offices and construction sites.

Safety concerns about the Crandall Canyon mine surfaced months ago, and safety experts warned of particular dangers in the "retreat mining" technique used there after it was approved by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. In retreat mining, coalminers essentially pull out roof-supporting pillars of coal as they work their way out of the mine. The retreat mining plan at Crandall Canyon, says United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts, "appears to have been flawed, to say the least. In our opinion, that plan should never have been approved."

No one should be surprised it was approved, though. The Bush administration has been systematically dismantling and cutting funding for workplace safety rules and oversight since it came into office.

Every day in 2005 (the most recent data available), 16 workers died on the job and 12,000 were made sick--and that doesn't include the occupational diseases that kill 50,000 to 60,000 more workers each year. In many if not most of these cases, one of two things occurred: An employer disregarded the law, or the law wasn't strong enough to protect workers.

Making a mockery of mining laws is standard operating procedure in the business. No one seems to care enough to do anything about it in Washington, so the disregard for safety continues.

Sure, it isn't as bad as the conditions in, say China, but this is America and we need to be an example for the world, not the other way around. When the tragedy began unfolding, mine owner representatives walked out of a Congressional Committee hearing, even though members of Congress wanted them to stay. This isn't just contempt for Congress, it is a slap in the face to America.

Bush Mocks Political Dissidents

Our President, George Bush, enemy to all those that love freedom around the globe, is quite the spectacle. He trashes our democracy while claiming to embrace it. He says he wants freedom for everyone in the world, yet takes it away from his own citizens. Then when things go bad, he plays the victim card. Truly, utterly, hopelessly, pathetic.

From The Washington Post:

As he sat down with opposition leaders from authoritarian societies around the world, he gave voice to his exasperation. "You're not the only dissident," Bush told Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a leader in the resistance to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "I too am a dissident in Washington. Bureaucracy in the United States does not help change. It seems that Mubarak succeeded in brainwashing them."

If he needed more evidence, he would soon get it. In his speech that day, Bush vowed to order U.S. ambassadors in unfree nations to meet with dissidents and boasted that he had created a fund to help embattled human rights defenders. But the
State Department did not send out the cable directing ambassadors to sit down with dissidents until two months later. And to this day, not a nickel has been transferred to the fund he touted.

Two and a half years after Bush pledged in his second inaugural address to spread democracy around the world, the grand project has bogged down in a bureaucratic and geopolitical morass, in the view of many activists, officials and even White House aides. Many in his administration never bought into the idea, and some undermined it, including his own vice president. The Iraq war has distracted Bush and, in some quarters, discredited his aspirations. And while he focuses his ire on bureaucracy, Bush at times has compromised the idealism of that speech in the muddy reality of guarding other U.S. interests.

Basically, Bush is a joke. His loyal friends in the White House even turn their back on his naive idealism about spreading democracy with brute force. Instead that brute force has created some of our most fearsome enemies, both where our troops are stationed at and at here at home. Our allies have grown frustrated with us and the masses hate George Bush, and have done so for far longer than the majority of Americans (his popularity dropped below 50% in early 2005).

At least we get it now, only one in four Americans approve of his behavior. His "dissident" status is one way to look at it. We all know that Bush lives in a bubble. That bubble happens to be in downtown Washington. Yet if he could look outside that bubble, he would see that he is not only a dissident in the capital, the antipathy is spread out from New York to California, and Oregon to Alabama.

Coathangers And Storage Space

The advertising in New York City has to be bold in order to catch our attention. Hokey 1950s crap just doesn't cut it here. Manhattan Mini-Storage has not disappointed us in the past....but this takes it to new levels. Kudos to bringing the debate over abortion rights front and center, or at least up on the wall.

Thanks to Eddie C from dKos for the shot.

LMFAO At Karl Rove

Oh Karl, how you make me laugh (and cry sometimes to because of your record of destroying our Constitution). The terrible attempt at dancing on the stage at the White House Correspondents Dinner was one thing, but the interview on Fox News (of all places) with Chris Wallace yesterday was just too much.

From RawStory:

"Why not appear under oath or at least allow a transcript?" asked Wallace.

"Because of the Constitution of the United States," replied Rove, citing the separation of powers and suggesting there would be a public outcry if either Congressional aides or Supreme Court clerks were called to testify by one of the other branches.

"The Constitution does not prevent you from speaking to me, so in fact I'll ask you some questions," responded Wallace. "Why did you push to fire some US Attorneys in the president's second term?"

"Nice try," Rove came back. "The president has prerogatives that stand up not only to Congress but also to you. ... What I advised the president is protected by that prerogative. Nice try, Chris." Rove then spelled out the doctrine of executive privilege, saying, "You don't understand you're being an agent of Congress when you ask me that question, but you are."

An agent of Congress? Caring about the Constitution? If I had more floor space here I'd be rolling on the ground with laughter. So I'll just chuckle and smirk instead. Karl cares as much about the Constitution as Hitler had fondness for the Jews. The "brain" pathetically tried to defend himself with executive privilege, but he forgets that the Congress represents the American people. Even though Wallace works at Fox News, I give him some credit for asking a tough question even if he couldn't get a good answer.

The thing is, Rove won't give him or Congress an answer because he knows he is guilty of oh so many crimes against our nation. He really isn't as bright as many people think he is, but there is enough intellect to know when not to fess up to your criminal conduct. Even a low-life like him can try to save his ass on national television.

Certain Plumbers You Just Have To Avoid

It is always best to get two or three estimates before getting something fixed when it comes to your home or office. It is just common sense. Of course as Voltaire said "Common sense isn't so common." So when the Pentagon wanted to buy a couple of washers, you would think they might want to get the price....but they didn't. Take a look at how expensive these little babies were.

From The Guardian:

Plumbers are notorious for excessive bills. But none has come even remotely close to matching an extravagant claim by a South Carolina firm: almost $1m (£500,000) for two metal washers worth 19c each.

Charlene Corley, 47, co-owner of the plumbing and electrical firm C&D Distributors, who supplied parts to the military, is awaiting sentence after pleading guilty yesterday to defrauding the Pentagon. She faces 20 years in jail.

The most expensive washers in history were part of $20.5m the company stole from the Pentagon over the last 10 years. The company shipped plumbing and electrical parts to US bases round the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Where did the $999,999 go you ask? Charlene Corey bought cars, houses and a few other knick-knacks for around the house. She defrauded the government...but the government let her do it. They are complicit in this, or at least extremely negligent. Perhaps the accountant in the Pentagon could have looked at the bill and realized you can buy washers for less than the price of a phone call at a pay phone.

Ah the words of Voltaire, so true.

Calling Out Mitt Romney: Its Just Too Easy

This one is done "swift-scout" style, ah too easy, just too easy:

Edwards Versus The She-Devil

I would personally like to thank John Edwards for name-calling on Friday. I know it isn't usually appropriate or very becoming for an ex-Senator and Presidential candidate to call someone names, but for Ann Coulter, I make exceptions. Yes, we should ignore her...and I know I am doing the opposite by writing about her, but, we are talking about the she-devil here. Besides, the larger point is that we need to fight back against right-wingers like Ann. John Edwards did just that on Friday.

From RawStory:

Edwards, D-N.C., was railing against the right-wing media -- including Fox News and Rush Limbaugh -- when he reminded a crowd in Burlington, Iowa, that his wife stood up to Coulter in a public spat earlier this summer.

"We know these people. We know their game plan. They're going to attack us personally," Edwards said. "They attacked Elizabeth personally, because she stood up to that she-devil Ann Coulter. … I should not have name-called. But the truth is -- forget the names -- people like Ann Coulter, they engage in hateful language."

We need to fight back against these people, one by calling them who they are....and then blowing them away with our ideas and our overall message that there is something better out there than using hate and manipulation. Of course John was defending his wife, someone that should not be attacked in the way that Ann went after her. This type of shit is unacceptable, and we can not just roll over and take it the way Democrats did in 2000 and 2004 especially.

We must fight back directly....and then let the message win people over after minimizing miscreants like Ann Coulter.

Its Against The Law

I've been back in town for a few hours after an incredible weekend up in Mystic, CT (I highly recommend it for a weekend if you live nearby or are in the Northeast)......only to come back to reality and the news that encompasses it. One such story out of the multitude is that of Elvira Arellano. Elvira had been staying in a sanctuary in Chicago to stay out of the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement that wants to send her back to Mexico to carry out deportation orders. She came out to speak at a rally in Los Angeles, only to find herself being arrested and facing imminent deportation.

From The San Jose Mercury News:

Elvira Arellano, who arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday after leaving her sanctuary to campaign for immigration reform, was arrested around 1:30 p.m. outside Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church where she had been speaking to reporters, said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist, the Chicago church.

Arellano was "being processed for removal to Mexico based upon a deportation order originally issued by a federal immigration judge in 1997," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release.

Immigration activists promised protests and vigils to support her.

"We are sad, but at the same time we are angry," said Javier Rodriguez, a Chicago immigration activist who worked with her. "How dare they arrest this woman?"

"How dare they" is right. Elvira has been fighting for rights, both for herself and many in similar situations. She came to this country over ten years ago to work for a better life. Many people out there think that her deportation is not only following the law, but justified because she had eluded authorities for so long.

Since she has principles, speaking out in Los Angeles was the right thing to do. There is so much to be done and if her voice can help, then Ms. Arellano will step up. Now her activism is going to lead to deportation, no matter how many vigils we hold. The problem is that the "law" is a regressive measure that impedes the way America truly works. So many people want to come here to better their lives as Elvira was once doing. Now she is going to have to pay a price.

Yet what about the people that hire her? What happens to them? Why do they get away with paying ultra-low wages to undocumented workers while the bosses get rich from lower bottom lines. It is time to address the real issues here. People need to put down their hate for others who look "different" from the average WASP. America was founded and brought to glory on the backs of immigrants. Yet somehow there are so many out there that forget that integral piece of our history.

The law is the law, but it needs to be changed, so we can continue to be the country we know and love.