Friday, September 21, 2007

My Guns Are Bigger Than Your Guns

You won't find Democrats participating at NRA events, but thankfully we have Republicans to go and entertain us with the machismo. McCain was actually in good form as he strutted his stuff in front of the gun lobby. McCain embraced the machines that kill 11,000 Americans every year and consistently put Giuliani down for not loving guns as much as he does.

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate John McCain lobbed a thinly veiled attack at fellow rival Rudy Giuliani, describing the former mayor's "devious" attempt with a lawsuit "to bankrupt our great gun manufacturers."

Giuliani said he preferred to focus on the lion's share of issues on which he and the National Rifle Association agree.

Sen. McCain, R-Ariz., and the former New York mayor are among several officials speaking Friday at a National Rifle Association conference.

In his prepared speech, McCain refers to a lawsuit by Giuliani and other mayors against the gun industry, to Giuliani's shifting Second Amendment position and to Giuliani's use of the term "extremists" in relation to the NRA.

Wow, I think me and Rudy might agree on something. Too bad he called them extremists eleven years ago before he switched all of his positions to appeal to the conservative right. Back then he actually liked to prosecute gun manufacturers so that he would look tough on crime.

I wonder what those extremists think of him now.

Olbermann Attacks the GOP MoveOn Spin

While the Republicans spin, huff and puff over an ad that exposes their evil truths, Keith Olbermann goes after them for their bullshit.

NYC Cabbies "Strike" Out, Opt For Court Instead

Bringing their case to the people of New York really didn't work out for them a couple weeks ago. Only a fraction of Yellow Cabs actually sat out for a measly two days for their so-called strike. They still hate the idea of GPS, who wants to be held accountable while on the job anyway? Doesn't everyone want to be lazy and jerk tourists around who don't know the streets? Well if that doesn't sound fair to you then wait till you get a load of their latest stunt.

From 1010 WINS:

MANHATTAN (AP) -- A group of cabbies sued city regulators Wednesday in an attempt to block a new requirement that all taxis be outfitted with global positioning systems and software that will record where they drive.

The move comes two weeks after thousands of cabbies went on strike for two days to protest the rule, which some have blasted as an invasion of privacy.

In the suit, the drivers argue that the city overstepped its authority and acted unconstitutionally when it mandated the units.

The suit also makes an unusual claim that the GPS devices will give away trade secrets by disclosing the cabbies' driving patterns.

These guys aren't just cruising the streets, they make a living by taking customers from point A to point B. GPS trackers are bad news if the city wanted to install them on private vehicles, but they are not ordinary cars. It is easy for them to take advantage of tourists and even locals that might not be aware of ways to add to the fare by driving a certain way.

If you need to head uptown during the afternoon, it is common sense to take Park instead of Third Avenue....but only if you know that. Sitting on Third, especially in midtown is hellish to say the least. That is just one example of many. The ins and outs of New York City are vast and if technology allows them to be held accountable for their actions, then so be it.

City Fears It'll Get Burned Over Deutsche Bank Building Fire

The New York Times reported Thursday that Gary P. Naftalis will be helping the city prepare for possible criminal negligence charges from the fire that broke out at the Deutsche Bank building fire last month. The city and specific administrators could face fines or even jail time due to the deaths of two of New York's bravest. The agencies involved are the Buildings and Fire Departments.

Bloomberg and other city officials are worried about the bad press they might endure. One telling sign was when officials wanted the firefighters who survived to talk to their lawyers before meeting with prosecutors. The firefighters were smart to ignore those orders. Trying to pressure any firefighter of the FDNY would also be a serious offense. Tampering with witnesses is a definite no-no and prosecutors involved in the case should pay attention to what city lawyers are up to.

The addition of Gary P. Naftalis shows that they are scared of possible repercussions. The city retains plenty of lawyers so you would think they'd be covered. Paying Naftalis up to $660 an hour means that they know the heat is coming. The question is, why? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Democratic Primary Is Not Over

Even among some of my politically astute friends, the feeling is that although they may not like Hillary the best, they think she'll be the eventual nominee. However I frequently point out that in many cases the front-runner the year before does not end up being picked. Does anyone remember how well Lieberman was doing in 2003? Well, if you don't believe me, watch Dr. Frank Newport of Gallup examine some past Presidential elections and the outcomes of the primaries

The Scholars Of Congressional Corruption

It takes a lot to make it to the upper crust of corrupt elected officials. It is so easy to be sucked into the greed and filth that even the most virtuous of politicians are looked at with a questionable eye. Nevertheless, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington was able to make their third annual list of the top 25 most corrupt members of the 110th Congress. Since CREW is non-partisan, they were more than willing to list them by what they did and not what party they belong to. Of course, most do have elephants next to their names.

From CREW:

CREW also has re-launched the report’s tandem website, The site offers short summaries of each member’s transgressions as well as the full-length profiles and all accompanying exhibits.

Members of the Senate:
Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)

Members of House:
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-LA)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. Timothy F. Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL)
Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-NM)

Dishonorable Mention:
Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)

“Every year CREW creates this compendium of corruption to expose and hold accountable those members of Congress who believe they are above the law,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “With the third edition of Beyond DeLay it has become abundantly clear that many public officials believe that the rules don’t apply to them.”

The Beltway has provided quite a comfortable set of cushions for ethically-challenged politicians over the last five ten twenty slew of years. For too long, their greed has been left unchecked. Thankfully we have organizations like CREW and others to expose these bastards and what they are doing. It won't end overnight or even next year, but continuing to report on unethical behavior will eventually start to clean things up in the swamp that is Washington.

Michael Jordan For President!

Giuliani's ego ran circles around the press yesterday in London. It was truly a masterpiece production. Rudy claimed to be one of the top four or five most popular Americans in the world. He also said he would increase the size of the military and promise to go to war with Iran if they kept trying to become nuclear. Basically he went around London stomping his feet and demanding to be known as a "big boy." Well Giuliani might wet his diaper when he finds out he isn't even in the top ten.

From The Huffington Post:

LONDON — Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani bragged about his international celebrity Wednesday on a trans-Atlantic campaign trip in which he schmoozed with conservative idol Margaret Thatcher.

"I'm probably one of the four or five best known Americans in the world," Giuliani told a small group of reporters at a posh London hotel as onlookers gathered in the lobby to gawk at actor Dustin Hoffman who was on a separate visit.


But who are the four other best-known Americans?

"Bill Clinton ... Hillary," he said, but he was whisked away for another engagement before he could throw out any other names.

He went over there to impress Margaret Thatcher, after Mitt and Fred had already met the "Iron Lady." Wooing the Tory vote seems a little strange, but let them spend their time as they choose.

As for picking Presidents based on popularity instead of tact, skill and courage (things Giuliani doesn't have), I might have to go with Bill or Hillary, or Dustin Hoffman or Britney Spears or Shaq or Michael Jordan. Thats six names right off the top of my head, so he's at least #7. Perhaps we'll go with someone who has some leadership ability instead. I'd rather leave those who are trained in 'looking good' to other professions.

Peter King, Long Island's Favorite Bigot

Although he might not have as good a shot at being kicked out office as his friend Vito in Staten Island, Peter King needs to go. The guy is Giuliani's Homeland Security guy and he actually opens his mouth and says shit like there are "too many mosques in this country." What happened to freedom of religion, sounds more like freedom for Peter's religion, that intolerant bastard. Of course he now claims he was taken out of context.

Who do you believe, King or the video:

Petraeus Was Wearing Fraudulent Medals

It seems like everyone outside the liberal left was mortified (who doesn't care about the consequences of war more) at MoveOn's "Petraeus or Betray Us" ad. How could we criticize a general....that was in Iraq, OMFG. There was no way Bush could be using him for political purposes, this guy said that no one influenced his report and we must believe him no matter what. So tell me this, if any soldier wore fraudulent medals before Congress or anywhere in public, would you still believe anything that came out of his mouth? Here's what happened....

From DailyKos:

Let me break this down for you:

  • To get the valor medal, General Petraeus had to be under enemy fire.
  • He is described to have been under enemy fire in the battle for Najaf.
  • The only incident of enemy fire reported near General Petraeus was on March 30th.

The descriptions of that event by the two separate journalists match perfectly - one mortar round hit between 40 and 50 meters away from Generals Petraeus and Wallace as they read a map on the hood of a Humvee. They acted nonchalant.

The event is described in this article penned by Gregg Zoroya and Steve Komarow. It describes one mortar round hitting at the above distance. Komarow was embedded with V Corps, General Wallace's command.

Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Rick Atkinson was so close he dove between two trucks when the round hit. He stood up quickly and got back to reporting. We must all now depend on Atkinson to stick by his reporting as the Swiftboat is thrown into hard reverse.

Embedded with the 101st Airborne "at the elbow" of General Petraeus - a person he knew well - Atkinson describes the event in his book In The Company Of Soldiers. He was Petraeus's constant companion during this time. If there was another event in Najaf, Atkinson would have described it. And we have no reason to disbelieve his account of events of March 30.

Then there is the Army story. It was apparently passed around to troops to demonstrate the esprit de corps and fighting spirit of the general officers. It is so bad, so irreconcilable with Atkinson's detailed description of events, that when I read it I thought I was hallucinating. So, I asked a friendly librarian to read the two descriptions and compare them. Librarians are dignified people, but as she read, her jaw literally dropped. When she was finished she almost started crying.

The whole diary is fantastic, so I recommend you read all of it. Basically the army fabricated a story to get the General an award he did not deserve. That is atrocious. They may be little pieces of cloth or metallic objects, but those medals signify so much more than the material they are made of. They represent bravery, courage and giving 110% or more. Petraeus should be ashamed, and no one should be able to take his words at face value.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Neil Cavuto Doesn't Accept Information From The Real World

When you live in a bubble, it is hard to know what goes on in reality. Perhaps Neil and the President could form some sort of support group, call it Bubble Boy Anonymous. Bush lives life with a set of delusions and apparently so does Neil Cavuto of Fox News.

Believing numbers straight from the U.S. Census Bureau is too much for the financial guy at Fox when it comes to how many uninsured Americans there actually are. The ugly reality doesn't exactly mesh with Health Care industry profits and the "beauty" of the free market.

Of course with Hillary's health care plan in the news, he is on the attack and likens her reporting the same numbers exact numbers to him claiming to lose ten pounds. Well Neil can lie about his weight all he wants but there will still be 47 million Americans living without insurance today. They will still suffer from ailments and not having access to good care. They will still have to choose buying groceries and paying rent over having an HMO or PPO card that is essential to seeing a good doctor nowadays.

Neil makes plenty of money at Fox so he doesn't have to worry about waiting at an Emergency Room or getting his checkups. He doesn't have to make those dreadful budget decisions that so many families endure. Well good for you bubble boy. It doesn't give you any right to discount their realities or America's reality.

Hypocrisy At All Levels

Watch Rachel talk about integrity and excellence while remembering her record as an U.S. Attorney.

Who Will Defend God?

State Senator Ernie Chambers isn't expecting any money out of God, but he is trying to sue him to stop natural disasters. You may think Ernie sounds a little nuts, but the action is to make a point about a citizen's ability to sue whoever they want without calling a grievance "frivolous." The named defendant in his lawsuit was designed to make headlines and he definitely accomplished that. He even got airtime on CNN's American Morning.

From RawStory:

"It's a lawsuit against a defendant who has perpetrated much harm and damage on the human race," Chambers said on CNN.

Chambers says his frivolous lawsuit against the Lord was meant to protest a suit filed against a Nebraska judge who banned the words "rape" and "victim" from a woman's rape trial.

Some Nebraska lawmakers are trying to pass legislation preventing frivolous lawsuits, but Chambers says anyone should be able to file a lawsuit against anyone else.

He is right that the Constitution requires courts to keep their doors open. The term "frivolous lawsuit" was invented by conservatives that want their corporate buddies out of the courtroom for their shady behaviors. Sure, there are crazy lawsuits out there, but we should not legislate people from having the ability to seek justice in a court of law. Cheers to Ernie for his PR abilities.

Get Ready To Shell Out More $$$ To Ride MTA

Nobody wants to deal with a fare increase when it comes to the troubled MTA in the city. After using the Tube in London, our system feels like something out of the third world. A regular ride here costs $2 ($1.60 when you count the buy 5, get one free system) and in London it is 1.60 in Pounds (or one quid and 60 pence). The difference in service is not even close. They have friggin couches in the cars for crying out loud, not to mention up-to-date service announcements on their website, clean stations and boards on every platform telling you when the next two trains are coming.

So after seeing how Londoners do it, it pisses me off to see the MTA getting ready to charge us even more for a woeful ride on the subway. The board is meeting in December to decide how much and based on comments coming out of the Mayor's office, he won't put up much of a fight. He'd rather possible congestion-pricing revenue go to system expansion projects instead (though it isn't even guaranteed).

The MTA needs more pressure put upon it to wait for a fare increase until next year. I am against any fare increase in three months and instead wait until more develops on the congestion pricing front. In addition to little ol' me, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign and many civic organizations feel the same way. I'm guessing a few million New Yorkers might be on our side as well.

Turning New Hampshire Blue

Politically New Hampshire is already pretty blue. Both Members of Congress are now Democrats in the state as of last year as well as the Governor. Now we need to take that Senate seat back from John Sununu. His biggest threat is former Governor Jean Shaheen and guess what? She's running. New Hampshire is one of many pickups for Democrats in 2008, including Nebraska, Idaho and Virginia. Who knows, by the time election day we might have a few others ready to jump the GOP ship.

Couric Needs A Mentor Like Lara Logan

Katie's performance in Iraq was down right miserable and a pathetic attempt at shillery for the President. CBS is losing money on her at an incredible rate. However, all is not lost at CBS. They still have reporters like Lara Logan.

Lara does not hide behind bodyguards and show up at staged events like the al-Shorja market that is in Indiana central Baghdad. She does not parrot Bush's talking points on the evening news, that is what his interruptions during Prime Time are for. Let him remind the public why they hate the President for his miserable war.

Lara knows how to get it done and her reporting is hard-hitting and makes a difference, like this article about how billions in our taxpayer dollars is wasted in Afghanistan. Unfortunately the link shows Katie's face at the top of the screen, but the powerful words below are from Ms. Logan. If anything, Logan should be introducing Katie to how things get done, not how to fake the news.

Look At All The Progress In Baghdad, Wow!

Man, I had Petraeus pegged wrong. Not only are things going well, non-Iraqi civilians don't even have to go out anymore. Actually, they are being banned from traveling outside the Green Zone but hey, whats the difference? Apparently that little Blackwater incident that ended up killing several civilians angered the people of Iraq to such a degree that it is too dangerous to be anywhere in the country, except for maybe the Green Zone.

From The Huffington Post:

BAGHDAD — The United States on Tuesday suspended all land travel by U.S. diplomats and other civilian officials in Iraq outside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, amid mounting public outrage over the alleged killing of civilians by the U.S. Embassy's security provider Blackwater USA.

The move came even as the Iraqi government appeared to back down from statements Monday that it had permanently revoked Blackwater's license and would order its 1,000 personnel to leave the country _ depriving American diplomats of security protection essential to operating in Baghdad.

"We are not intending to stop them and revoke their license indefinitely but we do need them to respect the law and the regulation here in Iraq," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told CNN.

Details of the weekend shootings haven't been released, but the New York Times reported late Tuesday that a preliminary review by Iraq's Ministry of Interior found that violence erupted as Blackwater security guards fired at a car when it did not heed a policeman's call to stop, killing a couple and their infant.

Imagine that happening here? We'd be attacking every country in sight. Over there, its just another day, another atrocity committed by forces that aren't accountable to anyone. The Iraqis tried to look tough and expel Blackwater, but now they are being pressured to sit down and behave. How pathetic.

Top Ten Videos From Last Week

A few days old but oh so good:

Conservatives Love Bumbling Idiots

All around the blogosphere yesterday Fred Thompson was being bashed for not knowing about a crucial issue in Florida concerning drilling in the Everglades. The man simply had no clue there was even oil down there. It's official, he's clueless. Yet we already know this, and we also know many conservatives do not read up on details like these. Tennessee is far from Florida and for Fred that is just too far.

Who cares if he was a Senator at the time President Bush set aside funds to protect the area, Fred was obviously not paying attention then and it seems nothing has changed since 2002. I really wonder if he wants to do this at all sometimes. His lack of energy for the campaign is quite noticeable.

Though I think that does not matter to the people behind Fred. Conservatives see him as their Ronald Reagan just as liberals try vainly to see Bobby Kennedy in Barack Obama. Message to both sides, they will never be your heroes. There was only one Bobby Kennedy, he died way before his time and what looked like his eventual Presidency that would have changed the course our nation ended up going on. As for a new Reagan....thank god no one will ever be like that moron. He started this movement to ruin our country and now we have Georgie trying to finish us off.

So, everyone is looking for a hero, I understand that, but Fred is definitely not it, not even close.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Trashy Debate

Walking up Third Avenue tonight I noticed all of the waste baskets brimming with trash. It was rather disgusting and more so because I had to find a niche to put my own refuse in so it wouldn't fall to the ground. Later on I know that a garbage truck with two men will drive by, throw the contents into the back of their truck and drive away. I see it all the time, but rarely do I ever ask the question....what happens next?

If someone asked me on the spot I'd have to guess that most of the trash New York creates goes out on barges somewhere far, far away, like New Jersey. Instead the real answer is that thousands of miles are driven collectively by private companies that throw the garbage (12,000 tons a day) into landfills out in Pennsylvania and various other states. It doesn't take much thought to come up with "thats not a good idea" so then what should we do? What can be done?

Well New York's leaders (including my own State Senator Liz Krueger) got together and talked about what we can do about the trash problem. Ideas range from taxing individuals on their garbage, burning it in waste-to-energy incinerators nearby, building a railroad that transports trash to a super landfill upstate and plain old conservation efforts. The participants agreed and disagreed on all ideas (depending on which idea and who was talking) and in the end, nothing was accomplished.

Well, why not compromise? Why can't we have some waste-to-energy plants, fund conservation efforts and build a slightly smaller landfill that uses trains to transport the garbage. Doing a little bit of both spreads it around and doesn't force us to put all our eggs in one metaphorical basket. All ideas have their pros and cons and dealing with garbage on the scale that NYC creates is no easy task. So why not try all of them and see where it goes from there. If the incinerators work better, than focus more on those. If the landfill works best, then build it bigger. And if conservation makes us a Zero Waste city....nah, that'll never happen, this is still New York.

More Fair And Balanced Reporting From FOX

Fair and balanced coverage of the Petraeus report from the one and only Fox News, meh:

One State's Trash Is Another's Treasure

An old adage states one man's trash is another's treasure. If it works on an individual level, why not on the macro? New York generates enormous amounts of trash and often ships it to other states for a price. This time however, both sides win without one being stunk up by rotting garbage. With all of the new subway cars in Manhattan (btw the new N trains are awesome) the old ones need to go somewhere, and New Jersey wants to take them off of our hands.

From The New York Times:

New Jersey will ask New York for 600 decommissioned subway cars to be sunk off the coast to create artificial reefs to attract fish, lobsters and other marine life, New Jersey environmental officials said yesterday. New Jersey, which has the East Coast’s largest artificial reef complex, stopped accepting subway cars in 2003 after environmentalists raised concerns that the cars might leach high levels of asbestos as they disintegrated. But New Jersey’s environmental protection commissioner, Lisa P. Jackson, wrote in a staff memo yesterday that studies conducted by federal agencies and by other states that have sunk subway cars satisfied her that asbestos did not pose a serious threat. Cindy Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a critic of the subway plan, said yesterday that she hoped New Jersey officials would ask for the subway cars with the least amount of asbestos.

So with only a small amount of asbestos released into the Atlantic (not like we have to breathe it right?), we can clear up our railyards and New Jersey can build on their reef system, helping the marine ecosystem in the process.

Stossel Is A SiCKO

Stossel is making news today and as usual, it is for his horrific record when it comes to attempting to be a journalist. He wrote an article on Michael Moore's movie and one story in particular that was highlighted in the film. That is the tragedy that befell the Pierce family. Julie's husband Tracy died from cancer when a bone marrow transplant would have saved his life. Instead of him being a husband and father today, he died because his insurance carrier denied him the surgery. It is one of many sad stories that Stossel calls "Sick Sob Stories." They aren't sick John, you are, you heartless piece of shit.

From Michael

Dear John,

My name is Julie Pierce. My husband was Tracy Pierce. I am featured in Michael Moore's documentary 'SiCKO.' In the movie, I share my deceased husband's story — his unsuccessful battle with our insurance company to receive what could have been life-saving treatments for kidney cancer.

I just read your Wall Street Journal article written on Sept. 13, 2007, titled "Sick Sob Stories." You begin by talking about Tracy's role in 'SiCKO,' and claim the bone marrow transplant denied by our insurer would not have saved him. You also accuse me of "sneering" over our situation.

In your 'reporting' of this story, you did not contact me, and you did not contact my husband's doctors. I cannot believe that a publication like the Wall Street Journal would print such an accusation without talking to anyone involved — especially in such a personal matter, which resulted in the death of my 37-year-old husband and the father of my child.

If you had contacted me, I would have told you that bone marrow transplants became a last option, only after our insurer denied many other treatments again and again and again.

I would have shown you a letter from our doctors at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Kansas Hospital, in which they argued strongly for the bone marrow transplant, citing "strong evidence" supporting the past success of that treatment — they wrote that it could "give him a chance to achieve complete remission." In fact, they called the bone marrow transplant "his only chance of survival."

Tracy and so many others could have been saved by this procedure, yet Stossel weakly tries to defend his friends in the Health Insurance industry. He believes in a "free market" so much that he does not care who gets hurt. On top of that, he never contacted Julie or Tracy's doctors to research his stories. Like other conservatives, he cherry picks certain "facts" that prove his invalid points. How the Wall Street Journal printed that....and ABC still carries his ugly face on their network is outrageous.

Obama Girl Headed For U.S.O?

Not quite Al Franken funny, but these girls could help the sagging morale in Iraq and Afghanistan:

One U.S. Attorney That Gonzo Forgot To Fire

Alberto Gonzales and friends fired a number of U.S. Attorneys last year for political reasons, but they missed the ones that are actual criminals. John David R. Atchison is an Assistant U.S. Attorney down in Florida, but after he was arrested for attempting to have sex with a minor I don't think he'll be prosecuting many more cases.

From Click On Detroit:

According to authorities, Atchison made contact with a detective working undercover for the Macomb County Sheriff's department's.

The detective, acting as the child's mother, allegedly arranged a sexual encounter between Atchison and her 5-year-old daughter, police said.

In deposition, detectives said Atchison suggested the mother tell her daughter that "you found her a sweet boyfriend who will bring her presents."

The undercover detective expressed concern about physical injury to the 5-year-old girl as a result of the sexual activity. Detectives said Atchison responded, " I am always gentle and loving; not to worry, no damage ever, no rough stuff ever. I only like it soft and nice."

The undercover detective asked how Atchison can be certain of no injury. He responded, "Just gotta go slow and very easy. I've done it plenty," according to detectives.

Sorry to make everyone nauseous on this lovely afternoon but when it comes to talking about Bush Adminstration appointees, you never know how you are going to feel after investigating their conduct. This one deserves jail for sure....and to be kept away from children. He actually ran a youth athletics organization down in Pensacola.....those poor children.

NY Times Now 100% Free!

It feels like forever since the New York Times pulled the ridiculous stunt of charging internet users to read their columnists. For so long now, I've had to use a set of tricks to read Krugman, Dowd and the others to get past the fees the Times wanted to charge all of us. Well that era of dumbassery (yes that is my word) is now over, the Times has finally submitted.

Now I don't have to tell you how I was able to read TimesSelect for free, because we can all do it via their website. That means the Times will enable themselves to keep web users longer, viewing more pages guessed it, able to generate more online ad revenue. Genius isn't it?

Why they ever thought that would work confuses the mind to no end. Sure, I'll pay for somethings on the internet, like my groceries, Netflix, random EBay crap and an occasional contribution to worthy causes. Though I have not and obviously will never pay to read the Times (online that is). It is still the paper of record in our country and I thoroughly enjoy it (plus the CityRoom is an awesome resource).

Now make sure you don't try and charge us again, and we're all good.

Britney's #1 Fan Goes After FOX

Chris Crocker was made "newsworthy" on Fox News after the famous "Britney" youtube video, now he sets his sights on them:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Touring Minneapolis

Honestly I have never been to Minneapolis. I guess one day I would like to visit that city and Minnesota in general, its just not on the top of my list at the moment. If and when I go, I hear the fishing around town is great (10,000 lakes ya know?), the nation's largest mall perhaps and general sightseeing. However, one thing I would never think of getting a tour guide for is to see a men's bathroom. Unfortunately the media frenzy around Senator Craig's arrest record has created the yen for some individuals to see "the bathroom."

From The Huffington Post:

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — When tourists ask for the bathroom in the Minneapolis airport lately, it's usually not because they have to go.

It's because they want to see the stall made famous by U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's arrest in a sex sting.

"It's become a tourist attraction," said Karen Evans, information specialist at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. "People are taking pictures."

Why on Earth people want to take pictures of that stall is beyond me. Of course the story is newsworthy because of the hypocrisy with Craig's words and his contradictory actions...but going to see the men's room is just a bit overboard. So if you are in Minneapolis, go see the sights, but leave the restroom for what they are intended for, ok?

Mitt Romney Does Not Want You To See His Tolerant Side

More coming out today about Mitt Romney and his flip-flopping nature. It turns out the man trying so hard today to look like typical bigoted Republican candidate is going to have to deal with his liberal home state of Massachusetts and the Pride Parade he endorsed on fliers that were passed out at the event.

From RomneyFacts:

Viewer submission from the Romneyfacts tip line. Austin N. was handed this flier by a Romney campaign volunteer while walking with his partner during the Pride Festival on Boston Common following the 2002 gay Pride Parade.

What I love about this (other than that is very embarrassing for Mitt with the conservative base he is desperately trying to reach) is that it was a flier submitted to RomneyFacts by an average citizen who just happened to be at the parade passing out fliers. I am so glad that he kept one for all of us to see now.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Just got an email from Austin....he was a recipient of the flier, not passing them out.

MoveOn Calls Out Rudy

Fred Thompson Doesn't Care About Black People

Ok, the title is a little racy, but I can't help referring to Kanye West's statement about George Bush two years ago. Why would I say such a thing? Is it true? Well, maybe, maybe not. Yet his refusal to participate in a debate hosted by Tavis Smiley at Morgan State University is seen as a snub towards the African-American community. Of course, he isn't the only one, three other Republican candidates somehow have "scheduling problems" or some BS excuse not to show up. They wouldn't want their core constituencies to be offended now would they?

From The Huffington Post:

Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thomspon has become the fourth leading GOP presidential candidate to shun the PBS debate this month at a historically black college in Baltimore, the Huffington Post has learned.

The debates, moderated by Tavis Smiley, will go on as planned, despite the absence of Thompson, former mayor Rudy Giuliani, former governor Mitt Romney, and Sen. John McCain. Each campaign cited scheduling issues as the reason for their absence. Nevertheless, the rejections underscore the consistent absence of GOP candidates at minority voter forums.

"There is a pattern here," Smiley told the Huffington Post. "When you tell every black and brown request that you get throughout the primary process that 'no, there's a scheduling problem.' That's a pattern... Are we really supposed to believe that all four of these guys couldn't make it because of scheduling?"

The Republican frontrunners' snubbing of Smiley and PBS comes on the heels of their rejection of a debate sponsored by the Spanish-language network Univision (McCain was the only GOP candidate to accept that invitation). This past June, only one Republican presidential candidate, California Rep. Duncan Hunter, showed up at the convention of the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials.

So for all those "black people" out there, do not be offended, they don't care much for brown people either.

Something From Nothing

There's no such thing as a free lunch...but what about free energy. Physicists have always said that every action must have an equal reaction, but that theory seems to be officially debunked. A new invention out of the U.K. not only defies the theory, it can save people money and the environment. Oh, and it consists of one 12 x 2 inch tube.

From The Daily Mail:

The device seems to break the fundamental physical law that energy cannot be created from nothing - but researchers believe it taps into a previously unrecognised source of energy, stored at a sub-atomic level within the hydrogen atoms in water.

The system - developed by scientists at a firm called Ecowatts in a nondescript laboratory on an industrial estate at Lancing, West Sussex - involves passing an electrical current through a mixture of water, potassium carbonate (otherwise known as potash) and a secret liquid catalyst, based on chrome.

This creates a reaction that releases an incredible amount of energy compared to that put in. If the reaction takes place in a unit surrounded by water, the liquid heats up, which could form the basis for a household heating system.

If the technology can be developed on a domestic scale, it means consumers will need much less energy for heating and hot water - creating smaller bills and fewer greenhouse gases.

Isn't science amazing? ConEd must be shitting their pants right now, heh heh.

New Rules: Lactating, Thighs, Conspiracies and iPhone Nerds

This past "New Rules" on Bill Maher was definitely a good one. Check it out:

Iraqi Gov't Does One Good Thing

The Iraqi government has done next to nothing in the first years of its feeble existence. Of course they just aren't unified on much of anything. Muqtada al-Sadr continues to waffle on his support of the parliament and that ever-so-important oil deal keeps being elusive to all the parties involved. One good thing that did happen today was the expulsion of Blackwater USA. The U.S. mercenary group is hereafter banned from any operations within the country. Hooray!

From The Huffington Post:

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government said Monday that it was revoking the license of an American security firm accused of involvement in the deaths of eight civilians in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade.

The Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting. It was the latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision and are widely disliked by Iraqis who resent their speeding motorcades and forceful behavior.

Underscoring the seriousness of the matter, the State Department said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice planned to call Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to express regret and assure him that the U.S. has launched an investigation into the matter to ensure nothing like it happens again.

This is serious for Rice because a continued U.S. presence does not solely rely on the regular Army. There are so many mercenary groups like Blackwater operating in Iraq that provide essential security services for those in the upper-echelon in the Pentagon and for elected officials. Not only that, but the contracts that the Pentagon doles out to them consists of serious money. The neo-cons are on a never-ending quest to drain our economy into a larger pit of debt, so this must be terrible news for them.

Enough about Condi and the neo-cons. This is fantastic news for Iraqis. No longer will they be terrorized by Blackwater's abusive and aggressive "employees." The locals fear and loathe them, so at least there will be a little more peace from now on, at least from the Americans.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Is This The Best Giuliani's Got?

One of his senior advisers, Jim Dyke went on MSNBC to make his boss look good in the current tiff with Hillary Clinton. Giuliani took out a full page ad to blast the Senator and Hillary just smacked his egotistical ass down. The whole scene is being conjured by Rudy to raise dough out of Petraeus report and the reactions from Democrats,, etc. Crooks and Liars has more:

She’s not even a major talk show host, but Contessa made Jim Dyke, (an advisor to Rudy) look like a fool. Giuliani is trying to fund raise and blur the problems for the GOP over the Iraq war by targeting MoveOn and Gen. Petraeus, but seemingly unknown to his camp, 52% of Americans have little or no confidence in the Petraeus report. (vid is a little out of sync. C&Lers are emailing a lot of clips now and some of them have great content, but iffy quality)

video_wmv Download (2557) | Play (2932) video_mov Download (1200) | Play (1496)

Brewer:…so basically Hillary is lining up with more than half of Americans polled.

Dyke: Um, well for one thing it doesn’t make it OK to call him a liar.

Brewer:…She didn’t call him a liar..Wait, just to be clear here, she didn’t call him a liar.

Dyke: Contessa, that’s my interpretation and you can interpret how ever you want.

OK, if that’s the benchmark Jim, the sky is green. They lie and lie and lie.

Hillary responds to the children:

“Rudy Giuliani is dropping in the polls and is unable to defend his own support for George Bush’s failed war. Instead of distorting Senator Clinton’s record in the campaign’s first attack ad, the Mayor should tell voters why he thinks sticking with the Bush Iraq strategy makes sense. The country wants change and while Hillary Clinton is focused ending the war, Mayor Giuliani is playing politics.”

Its Simple Math's new ad could not possibly be as controversial as the last one (though why saying anything bad about Petraeus is controversial is odd to me). The simple math in this one shouldn't be hard for anyone to understand:

Hagel Rips Fellow Republicans

I know that Republicans consider Senator Hagel the same as we look at Lieberman, as an outcast of the party (though technically Lieberman is now an independent). Last week he declared he wouldn't run again in Nebraska, paving the way for former Democratic Governor Bob Kerrey to help his party pick up another seat in the Senate. Hagel's news prompted him a spot on the Bill Maher's show Friday night and he wasn't bashful with his thoughts about the GOP.

From RawStory:

"I've heard a lot of Republicans in the last year or so say 'I want my party back,'" says Maher. "I imagine you're somewhat in the same camp. Do you think the Republican party has been hijacked by incompetents and religious fanatics?"

"Oh, I think it's been hijacked by incompetency," Hagel concedes. "I think that's what has driven the Republican Party right off the cliff, and we are not who we say we are."

"We've run up the biggest budget debt since FDR, and he had an excuse, and that was the World War and a depression."

FDR was serious about leading our country out of perilous times, Bush is guiding us down a path of disaster. Dishonesty and incompetence are Republican party mantras. Saying one thing and doing the other is the status quo. Americans are fed up with it and demand change. We got that in 2006, and we'll get more of it in 2008.

John Kerry Doesn't Get It, They'll Never Apologize

We all remember the sorry affair of John Kerry's not-so-funny, not-so-offensive joke last year before the election about George Bush and the troops. The Republicans got him to acquiesce and apologize for something that was only offensive towards the President. The event knocked his credibility to campaign for Democrats across the country.

Well know John Boehner that Iraq is a "small price" to pay if we do not fight terror or whatever. That is offensive to EVERYONE. The occupation of Iraq has cost us thousands of lives, tens of thousands of injured soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars. This is simply no laughing matter. So what did Kerry do, he asked for an apology.

Now here is the difference between John Kerry and John Boehner.....and frankly most Democrats and Republicans. We'll fall over ourselves to apologize for nothing, caving into the demands of a small percentage of elected officials (they are in the minority now, hello!) while they will continue to rampage and cause havoc when it comes to Iraq, the economy and our Constitution.

Basically, they play hardball and we need to accept that. Calling for even a rhetorical apology will not get us anywhere. We need to continue to hammer them where it hurts. Maximize every one of their scandals, rip those that testify on their behalf when they are in front of Congress....and most importantly, use the power of the majority to bring an end to Bush's disastrous policies, starting with the war in Iraq. Boehner called it a "small price," well you can counter that by refusing to pay for the war. Congress has the power of the purse and it is far past the time since we should have used that to bring our troops home, they have paid far too much already.