Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Cost Of War

The debate over the war in Iraq, whether we should, or should not have gone in unfortunately rages between a majority and a minority of Americans to this very day. True, the majority has switched to those being against the war in the last five years but regardless, we are still paying the price. Big numbers can sound abstract to many people as they lead their busy lives, so sometimes you need to put things in perspective. Numbers like 3,908 and $483 billion can become mind numbing to all of us, even if they are shocking at first. So that is why I want you to read the last blog post from Major Andrew Olmstead. His words do what no others can.

From Obsidian Wings:

This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.

"When some people die, it's time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it's time to celebrate."
Jimmy Bender, "Greg the Bunny"

"And maybe now it's your turn
To die kicking some ass."
Freedom Isn't Free, Team America

What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I've enjoyed in my life. So if you're up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw 'Freedom Isn't Free' from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can't laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact. Read on...

I never got the chance to read Andy's works until now, but I am glad I was able to find them. He was a brilliant yet humble writer who personifies the cost of the war. In that comment thread at Obsidian Wings there is a policy not to post political comments, since Andy's family is reading it, so please, if you like what he wrote, please leave a respectful comment down below.

Godspeed Andy.

A Scary Thought

And that thought is that this man could win New Hampshire for the Republicans in three days time. It is truly horrifying, to see someone's resurgence while clamoring for something that 2/3 of the country or more despises.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Bloomberg Finally Cracks Down On Parking Permit Abuse

I know the Mayor has been busy not running for President in the last few months so it has been hard tending to the city. However, he finally got to business on one of the city's longstanding ills.

From The Gothamist:

Mayor Bloomberg has announced that the city will crackdown on the abuse of parking permits issued to civil servants, reducing the overall number by 20%. The change comes after the Post revealed in November that “149 separate government entities had qualified for the coveted placards last year, ranging from the state lottery to the US Navy recruiting office, which was allocated an astonishing 110 permits.”

In fact, so many agencies produce and distribute the parking placards that the city has no idea how many are out there! The mayor's office guesstimates 70,000, but Transportation Alternatives, who run a website that posts photos of illegally parked cars with permits, says 150,000 is more like it because of all the counterfeit and expired placards out there.[...]

The new plan, intended to cut congestion and pollution as well as corruption, goes like this:

  • Every city agency is to conduct an inventory of its permits and reduce them by 20%. This would eliminate roughly 14,000.
  • They must stop issuing new ones as of March 1st. (Less than eight weeks to call in a favor to your buddy at the Navy recruiting office.)
  • As of March 1st only the Police Department and the Department of Transportation will have the authority to issue the coveted parking placards.
  • A multi-agency working group will implement and coordinate the various measures.
  • The NYPD will create a new enforcement unit to ensure compliance and agencies will develop enforcement procedures to prevent the abuse of placards.

Now here is where change gets tricky, all of these new rules apply to the NYPD and they love their parking perks. Many officers are up in arms over this despite keeping the ability to issue the permits. Streetsblog found this rant indicative of what may ensue from all of this. Personally, those bastards can kiss my you know what. Also, they should re-arrange some funds by making the ticket-nazis (you know who I'm talking about) police the permit abusers instead of acting as blood-suckers to ordinary cars.

Here's A Stat The Traditional Media Won't Show Much

This has to have the Republican party shaking, trembling and quivering with fear. Not only did one of the anti-establishment candidates win (e.g. Huckabee), they were destroyed in the overall vote.

From The Group News Blog:

Total Voter Turnout (approximate)


Percentage of total vote

24.5% Obama
20.5% Edwards
19.8% Clinton
11.4% Huckabee (R)

I can't wait to see how the numbers turn out in New Hampshire. They do not have dedicated evangelicals in that state on the scale of Iowa. That was what propelled Huckabee to victory last night, now the hottest ticket in the small state of New Hampshire is John McCain. If you can tell me something thrilling about that old fart, it would be shocking.

Karma Visits Glenn Beck

Aww, the poor dear. It seems that Glenn Beck's recent surgery went awry and the obnoxious talk show host with the worst ratings on CNN/CNN Headline News was doused with drugs to stop his pain.

In all seriousness, I hope he recovers fully and leads a normal, happy life (I just want him out of the public's earshot). In this video he talked about contemplating suicide from the pain and is deciding whether he will "name names" on his come back show on January 7th. His YouTube site calls this a tease for his show, so talking about being some sort of anti-corporate born again might just be a cry for better ratings.

East Village Is Looking To Protect Itself

While crime has dropped significantly throughout the city and even the "scary" Alphabet City is no longer a place where you must be loaded to walk past Avenue B, there is a huge problem in the neighborhood. It doesn't have anything to do with violence, but everything with having to preserve the character of the area. As anyone who has gone to Astor Place knows, there are two Starbucks within a few hundred feet of each other and a third that lurks nearby. Starbucks and other corporations (especially banks) are trying to take over the East Village as much as they have across the rest of the city. Well now the community is trying to do something to stop it.

From The Villager:

To address the encroachment of chain stores, some members of the East Village Community Coalition have taken the first steps toward what they hope will be a “formula retail” zoning plan for the neighborhood that could limit or change the character of chain stores opening in the area.

The concept — initiated by Michael Rosen, E.V.C.C.’s co-founder and a 19-year East Village resident — seeks to eventually implement changes to the city’s Zoning Resolution that would prevent so-called formula chain establishments such as Starbucks from displacing local businesses or appearing out of context with the neighborhood.

The organization has only just begun to investigate the idea, after publishing its second annual pocket guidebook featuring hundreds of independently owned shops in the East Village to encourage locally based commerce. E.V.C.C. also recently enlisted the help of the Pratt Center for Community Development to research possible solutions in the increasingly gentrified area, which Rosen worries could become like “your basic strip mall” if preventive action is not taken.

Strip malls may be the fixture of suburbia, but they have no place in communities such as the East Village. Thankfully they, the community, is fighting back against the corporatization of America. If we can't save (some) of the character of New York, what chance does the rest of the country have?

Dodd May Have Dropped, But He's Not Giving Up The FISA Fight

Now that the Iowa Caucus is behind us, it was inevitable that some of the candidates on the lower tier would start dropping out of the race. One of those was Connecticut's Democratic Senator, Chris Dodd. He never really stood a chance against the likes of Obama, Clinton and Edwards, but he certainly does have a record of great repute. And to back that up, he is dedicated to adding to that record by continuing the fight against retroactive immunity.

From Chris Dodd via Daily Kos:

I count the past year of campaigning for the presidency as one of the most rewarding in a career of public service.

Unfortunately, I am withdrawing from that campaign tonight.

But there is no reason to hang our heads this evening -- only the opportunity to look towards a continuation of the work we started last January: ending the Iraq War, restoring the Constitution, and putting a Democrat in the White House.

I know a lot of you came to this email list through a shared desire to return our nation to one that respects the rule of law, and I want to make one thing clear to all of you:

The fight to restore the Constitution and stop retroactive immunity does not end with my Presidential campaign. FISA will come back in a few weeks and my pledge to filibuster ANY bill that includes retroactive immunity remains operative.

You've been an invaluable ally in the battle, and I'll need you to stick by my side despite tonight's caucus results.

So, one more time, thank you for all of your efforts throughout the course of this entire Presidential campaign.

We made a real difference in shaping the debate, and we'll continue to do so in the coming days, weeks and years.

I'll never forget you, and what we've fought for, together, over the past year.

Chris Dodd

Now that is a man with class, spirit and a determination to uphold the Constitution while Bush and his gang are doing their best to destroy it.

The Man That Beat Out Clinton

What an amazing speaker, and what a great President he would be for our country:

This Is Why Sheldon Silver Needs To Go

This morning the NY Post rightly slammed the Assembly Leader for his reckless bailout for lenders and borrowers alike in the mess that is the subprime mortgage market. I generally do not agree with a lot of what the Post writes about but when it comes to this, they are right on. Giving $180,000,000.00 to the banks and institutions that lent this money is ridiculous, not only because New York is facing a budget crisis (that makes it bad enough though) but because the banks do not deserve to be given anything back. It was wrong for them to lend the money in the first place and I believe it should be criminal.

Also, the Post points out that these millions will be taken from the millions of responsible borrowers through their taxes to those that borrowed without reading the details of their mortgage agreement. Now I believe that it wasn't entirely their fault, there was a reason why the banks preyed on many of these people specifically. The people that run these programs at the banks aren't stupid, they know how to spot easy marks like any hoodlum on the street, the only difference is that they wear suits.

Another difference between the criminals on the street and the ones in the midtown and downtown banks is that the suits have friends in Albany. You would never hear a legislator talk about bailing out loan sharks and shylocks who had gamblers and druggies who defaulted on their payments, would you? Yet the banks know how to have friends like Sheldon Silver and Darryl Towns.

From The NY Post:

Most astounding about Silver's plan, though, is that it not only seeks to hold harmless those who take on more than they can handle, but it also essentially legitimizes that practice - by doing the same thing itself.

We repeat: There's no money to fund it. And when asked about this wee oversight, Silver gave the classic response of those who can't say no: The state would just have to find the money, he said, for the 50,000 households "in some state of foreclosure" - just as it does for cops and other key public servants. (That is, the financially responsible other 19 million New Yorkers will have to pony up.)

"We have to be creative," said Banking Committee Chairman Darryl Towns, in trying to close the budget gap. But "this is one of our priorities."

Their priorities are to their friends in the banks. While many borrowers are let off the hook here and will escape foreclosure, the banks are the real winners here because they still get some money back from their abysmal failure of not trying to be good stewards of money and capital.

That $180 million should have not been spent at all or at the very least be put to programs that have better use for New Yorkers. And while you are at it, why not prosecute the banks for the crap they pull, then we would have less trouble with our budget shortfall.

Insert "9/11" Here

Many pundits and "experts" on both sides are talking about many different things now, but one thing is for sure...Rudy is finished. He drew 4 percent of the vote last night and finished behind everybody. Even Ron Paul more than doubled his numbers. Now Rudy is looking weak in New Hampshire and his "late-state" strategy is falling to pieces as his support drops in places like South Carolina and especially Florida. So one must beg the question, are you scared Rudy?

From The Daily News:

"None of this worries me - Sept. 11, there were times I was worried," Giuliani said.

"We're sitting in a pretty good position right now. So we're not worried and not concerned," he told a news conference here. "Maybe other people acted nervous in a situation like this, but this is not unexpected."

Good position eh? You mean like when after you sit down on a giant water slide and you are slowly moving into the tube, right before you rocket down to Earth?

The truth is, Rudy is scrambling and scrambling fast. His advisers pushed him to go on a barnstorming tour of New Hampshire for the next five days so he can hopefully gain some ground up there before all hope is lost. Unfortunately for Mr. Giuliani, the more people see of him the more they want to vote for someone else.

Perhaps we should add Rudy's name to the definition of a Catch-22.

"The Day That Would Never Come"

You got to hand it to the man that got 38 percent last night in Iowa:

Thursday, January 03, 2008


It is just a little past ten here on the East Coast and the first part of Election 2008 is now over. So what does it all mean? Obama takes 1st for the Dems, Huckabee crushes Romney et al. and now Clinton and Edwards are digging it out for second, though it looks like Edwards is going to eek it out past Ms. Inevitability at the moment.

The punditry class is going nuts and Chris Matthews is helping to lead the charge. Everyone is going to be talking and they have five days to do it before New Hampshire becomes the first state to cast actual ballots in their primary. From there on out the "momentum" is supposed to be cast and for now Obama is looking good and Clinton is looking bad, while Edwards is going to hang in there. Despite which way the Iowa Dems voted, they came out large, and attracted a massive amount of Independents. That means the Republicans should be running scared about where the "middle" of the country is going.

Speaking of Republicans, they got less than half the turnout of the Democrats. A minister turned governor swept the state out from an area not too far from "Nowheresville," Romney came in a distant second and the rest of the old farts are way down near 10 percent or below. The national front-runner is polling somewhere around four percent and McCain is somehow the winner in all of this, at least according to pundit-extraordinaire Chris "Tweety bird" Matthews.

Well enough about that, I'm going back to watching Cenk Uygur at the Young Turks/Brave New Films election special.

Silver Vows To Keep His Other Job, Smacks Bruno In The Process

Ah the quibbles of Albany. Our state capital always makes for interesting news, even if it should be put on a tabloid dedicated to our legislators. Minority Leader Sheldon Silver was asked if he is going to keep his second job at Weitz & Luxenberg after his Republican counterpart Joe Bruno left Wright Investors’ Service due to public pressure over what he was doing there (oh yeah and that Federal investigation too). Silver asserts that he has not been accused of anything and will remain at the law firm and as a "part-time" legislator.

From The NY Times:

Mr. Silver, for his part, said, “Let me very clearly state that nobody ever raised any serious questions about the kind of work that I do, it’s on my ethics form, and as far as certain principles that I might believe in, whether I give up a second job or not is not going to change my core beliefs in terms of who should be responsible to causing damages and injury to individual people.”[...]

One thing that was clear is that relations between Mr. Silver and Mr. Bruno are increasingly strained. Many times last year, Mr. Silver described himself as conducting Kissinger-like diplomacy between the warring Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Mr. Bruno. But that was before Mr. Bruno stepped up his attacks on the speaker, even calling him “the biggest wimp on earth” in a lengthy New Yorker profile of the governor.

Asked about Mr. Bruno’s recent statements that the speaker has become overly beholden to the governor, Mr. Silver said: “The first principle we learned in law school was that if you’re wrong on the facts and you’re wrong on the law, dazzle ‘em with your baloney. I don’t know how far the senator went in law school, but he has that principle down.”

I'm no fan of Silver, but he does dish it out to Joe quite nicely here.

Edwards On CNN: Its Time To Go After Big Oil

If you can't tell already, I have been supporting Edwards in this Democratic race for the nomination. He has what Obama and Hillary lack, which are principles and a dedication to actually change the status quo in Washington and the country as a whole. This interview with CNN's John Roberts about the oil industry and Iraq provide a small glimpse into this wonderful man:

You Know Our Economy Is Bad When...

You don't have to go to Paris or London to know that the U.S. dollar is plunging in value, now you can even go to India to experience it. Tourism Minister Ambika Soni announced that they will no longer be giving tourists a deal of 250 rupees for $50 bucks. The problem of course is in the value of our dollar, which has dropped precipitously over on the Indian sub-continent.

From RawStory:

In a sign of how the once mighty U.S. dollar has fallen, India's tourism minister said Thursday that U.S. dollars will no longer be accepted at the country's heritage tourist sites, like the famed Taj Mahal.

For years the dollar was worth about 50 rupees and tourists visiting most sites in India were charged either $5 or 250 rupees.

But with the dollar at a nine-year low against the rupee — falling 11 percent in 2007 alone and now hovering at around 39 rupees — that deal has become a losing proposition for the tourism industry.

International tourists looking for good deals for their dollar are finding that opportunities are drying up quickly. When I was in Europe this past summer I looked in the stores over there and gasped at the fact that while the numbers on the tags were the same, factoring in the exchange rate blew my mind. Seeing is believing, and if you are so lucky as to go see the Taj Mahal, just remember to get your rupees ready.

Mitt Romney Is Losing It

Ok, there really isn't much there to begin with (except for the hundreds of millions of dollars) for Mittens but the news on him today is just pitiful. Republicans in general are having a hard time deciding how much to embrace/distance themselves from the current pRezident but when you have no principles like Romney, I guess its ok to love the guy today and perhaps despise/loathe/ embrace with tepidation/want to hug him the next. When you think and act like that, no wonder you will have hopes as delusional as him.

From Slate:

In a new ad for New Hampshire voters, Mitt Romney claims:

In the next ten years, we'll see more progress, more change than the world has seen in the last ten centuries.

You read that correctly. The next ten years will run roughshod over the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the formation of American democracy, the printing press, interchangeable parts, division of labor, the end of slavery, nuclear technology, antiseptics, the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, the rise of communism, two world wars, universal suffrage, landing on the moon, and the Internet.

If that isn't bad enough, Mitt also proclaims his love for George Bush and all that he has done to us these past few years. I guess we'll have to see how this bullshit resonates with the hundred thousand or so Republican caucus-goers tonight.

Bearded Letterman Is Back

The only show to come back this week with union writers, Dave restarts his show with a bang:

The Audacity Of An Obama Staffer

Usually a Presidential campaign wants to be friendly with the media, but that wasn't the case for Obama's outfit on this frigid day in Iowa. Several anti-war protesters came to the office in Des Moines to get an answer to why he will not support getting the troops out and the press wanted cover the story, but that wasn't going to happen with staffer Josh Earnest around. Instead of this being a minor story, Earnest blew it up by kicking the press out the front door while having the protesters escorted out the side into the waiting arms of the police.

From The Atlantic Free Press:

Though he knew who the protesters represented and why they had come to Obama campaign headquarters (this reporter heard an Obama staffer say, “We knew they were coming and we have a plan to deal with them”), Earnest told one Iowa newspaper, “They basically just sort of came into the front office and were talking loudly and being disruptive.”

In a remarkably short-sighted and unsuccessful bid to minimize news coverage of an event that he perceived to be unflattering to Obama, Earnest did not stop at ejecting reporters and insisting that they conduct their work on the city sidewalk, about 30 feet from the headquarters main entrance. When he decided to have the non-violent peace activists arrested and removed by Des Moines Police Department, Earnest had the officers take the activists out through a side door, away from the gaze of reporters and the cameras of photojournalists.
According to Brian Terrell, executive director of the Catholic Peace Ministry and one of the eight arrested, VCNV has noted a number of areas in which Obama’s positions are troubling.

“Not only has Obama supported sanctions against Iran, he has also stated emphatically that in dealing with Iran, all options including military ones have to be on the table,” said Terrell.

“It’s astonishing, too, that he supports an increase in military spending,” said Terrell.

I can't wait to see the back-pedaling Obama is going to have to do because of this staffer. A good assumption is that he'll be fired either today or tomorrow. The important thing however is why those protesters from the Catholic Peace Ministry were there. Obama refuses to talk about a real plan to get our troops out and shows it by not even responding to anti-war activists. Plenty of Iowans and the majority of Americans want us out of Iraq, but while Obama vaguely talks about change, he certainly does not seem committed to making it so.

Separating Fred

Besides some hype at the beginning, there really never was much to the Fred Thompson campaign. For a few moments, conservatives touted him as the man who would win over the country, bring a Reagan-esque quality of candidate to the race and from that, he'd raise tons of cash and volunteers. Of course we knew this wouldn't happen and now it looks like this car crash is being towed to the junkyard.

From The Politico:

“Without a solid third-place finish, there’s no point in going on,” a Thompson adviser said Wednesday. “It was an honorable race, and he turned out to be a good candidate. The moment had just passed.”

A Thompson campaign source said there is “a strong likelihood” that if Thompson comes in a distant third in Iowa, with less than 15 percent of the vote, he would drop out soon—most likely before this weekend’s New Hampshire presidential debates.

The Thompson sources said they were describing a consensus expectation that is now widespread among his political circle, not announcing a decision that the candidate himself has definitively reached.

Fred dropped the ten ton weight on his foot when he said the campaign needed a second place finish in Iowa, something highly unlikely to happen tonight. He is averaging 11.5 points in the polls, higher than Paul or Giuliani but still in 4th place. As of this weekend, Republican voters will have one less candidate to choose that they can't stand.

Oh and of course, he's denying it all. Talk to us in a few days Fred, if you are still around at all.

This Is The Guy The NYT Hired

You call this a serious writer/person?

Sleep Can Be A Good Thing

I've heard a doctor or two say that it is advised to get six to eight hours of sleep depending on the needs of your body. Proper rest is good for all functions of life, whether that be metabolism, brain function or campaigning abilities. Nevertheless, I have spent many a sleepless night working on reports, GOTV efforts and supplying volunteer outposts for whatever district or town I've done field work. I can't say that it hurt or helped for me to have pulled those all-nighters, but it is certainly taking a toll on the candidates in Iowa.

From The NY Times:

“We had 300 people outside, literally freezing to death,” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton marveled on Tuesday before a crowd in Iowa City. (No deaths were reported, in fact.)

“I won’t remember Iowans,” Mitt Romney declared in Altoona the other day before his wife, Ann, corrected him. (He meant that he would “never forget” Iowans.)

Mike Huckabee offered his “apologies” last week over the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan. (He meant “sympathies,” his campaign clarified.)

Those are just a few examples from the last few days. Richardson blames his gaffe saying being gay was a choice due to a long flight. And of course we all remember the infamous Dean scream that the media continuously hammered him on (and some still do). Edwards just finished pulling an all-nighter through the Hawkeye state, with events at 2:15 and 5:15 in the morning. Thankfully for the JRE campaign, nothing has been noted by the press. If he can hold it together through the day, he can get at least a little well deserved rest after the caucus results come in tonight.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"1984" Just Came A Little Closer To Reality

The book is a frightening sci-fi thriller that exhibits a world full of war, fear and doublespeak from the government. Sadly, after seven years of George Bush we have been becoming more and more like Orwell's fictional account. Now it turns out that one more piece of the novel has found it's way from the pages to reality of modern life.

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

If a pair of Transportation Security Administration officers strolling by a Sea-Tac Airport ticket counter wish you happy holidays and ask where you're traveling, it might be more than just Christmas spirit.

Travelers at Sea-Tac and dozens of other major airports across America are being scrutinized by teams of TSA behavior-detection officers specially trained to discern the subtlest suspicious behaviors.

TSA officials will not reveal specific behaviors identified by the program -- called SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique) -- that are considered indicators of possible terrorist intent.

But a central task is to recognize microfacial expressions -- a flash of feelings that in a fraction of a second reflects emotions such as fear, anger, surprise or contempt, said Carl Maccario, who helped start the program for TSA.

If you have flown at all since the start of TSA, you know how terrible the outfit is, to actually think that they can pull this off with professionalism and dignity is laughable. Of course if I laugh at them in the airport they'll probably arrest me. If I cite the section of "1984" they'll probably haul me off to Guantanamo.

He did not know how long she had been looking at him, but perhaps for as much as five minutes, and it was possible that his features had not been perfectly under control. It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.

Scare ya just a little bit?

The Politics Of Fear

How low can you go with a campaign ad? Just ask John McCain:

Now This Is A Campaign Stunt

When I think of what to do to run a statewide campaign, things like direct-mail, walking door to door and running television ads come to mind. Now I know Dale Cardwell is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, but that doesn't mean you need to lower yourself to cheap stunts to gain attention.

From the AP:

ATLANTA (AP) — A television reporter turned political candidate said he plans to remain on a small scaffold near the top of a tower to focus attention on his long-shot bid to unseat a U.S. senator.

Dale Cardwell was hoisted more than 300 feet up the Corey Tower near downtown Atlanta on Tuesday morning. He said he expects to remain there "for days," sleeping in an insulated sleeping bag and eating military rations. A Webcam tracks his limited movements. Overnight temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s.

Cardwell, who hopes to unseat Republican Saxby Chambliss, said he thinks the publicity stunt won't hurt his credibility, but will make people curious about his message: that politicians should pay more attention to the concerns of working people and less to those of wealthy corporate interests.

Well his message is a good one and he is taking on two establishment candidates, one in his own party and hopefully for his sake the bastardly Saxby Chambliss. Speaking up about that message is what can win this race and take back that Senate seat down south. This publicity stunt however, is more becoming of Dale in his old job working for the local news, not as a Senatorial candidate.

Sitting In To Lean On Rep. Nadler For Impeachment Hearings

Are you a New Yorker? Perhaps one in Brooklyn? Do you think Bush deserves to be impeached? Should we do something about it? If you answered yes to at least three of those questions, then you should know about the sit-in at Congressman Nadler's office in Brooklyn right now. Several anti-war activists are demanding that Jerrold (who happens to be the chair of a sub-committee that can propel impeachment hearings along the path to what we so desire) take up the cause of impeachment and even take heed of his very own words.


U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler (D., Fla.), Luis Guiterrez (D., Ill.) and Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.), are members of the Judiciary Committee and have petitioned the other members to begin important impeachment hearings immediately. (See Over 170,000 citizens nationwide have signed onto Cong. Wexler’s letter in only its first six days and the petition received the attention of mainstream media such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald and others.

We are here today because you, Congressman Nadler, are Chairman of that Subcommittee.

In your recent press release wherein you began hearings on “The Applicability of Federal Criminal Laws to the Interrogation of Foreign Detainees,” you state that “…we may be facing the possibility of a dangerous and criminal abuse of power at the highest levels of our government. The matters at stake here are far from trivial.” (See attached press release).

You also stated: “…in times of crisis, it is always beneficial to remember the principles upon which this nation was founded. It was John Adams who observed that ‘power always thinks…that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all His laws.’ We are a nation of laws, and we are a free and democratic nation.”

We call on you, Congressman Nadler:

· to sign on to H. Res. 333/799, press for a hearing on the bill and hold a vote to pass it;
· to press for adoption of H. Res. 333/799 in the Judiciary Committee as a whole and move it out to the House of Representatives;
· to publicly encourage your colleagues to sign on to H. Res. 333/799 and to bring it to the Democratic Caucus for its support.

We, constituents and New York City residents, are disappointed by the Democrats who were swept into office by the voters in November 2006. We are disappointed that the war is still funded; we are disappointed that the Executive Office can still slap Congress’ face with impunity; we are disappointed that the real and present dangers posed by Bush and Cheney are not being addressed. We are appalled and ashamed that war crimes committed by our government have not been repudiated. We say ENOUGH!

Yes, enough is enough. If you can't help with the sitting part of the sit-in, at least be sure to call (Washington Office: Tel. 202-225-5635, Manhattan Office: Tel. 212-367-7350, Brooklyn Office: Tel. 718-373-3198, especially if he is your very own Congressman) and let him know how you feel, and how badly you want to see the pukes in the Executive branch impeached!

The Non-Candidate Who Talks Like A Candidate

You should know who I'm talking about before even looking at this video:

Blogging The Lord's Work?

I've heard that cleanliness is close to godliness, but can blogging bring you closer to the lord? Apparently if you are supporting Huckabee by blogging articles for him then you are doing HIS work. I know Huckabee has theological training, but come on, political blogging has nothing to do with God. It is a shame that he sinks this low to win votes, but then again, he is a Republican.

From ThinkProgress:

Calling them his “secret weapon,” Huckabee urged the bloggers to “clog” up the wireless system in Des Moines so that reporters couldn’t file any more “bad” stories about him. He added that by blocking the free press from doing their jobs, bloggers were “doing the Lord’s work”:

Mr. Huckabee had a rough time yesterday at the hands of the media when he announced he was canceling a negative ad against Mitt Romney and then showed the ad to the assembled reporters, who burst out laughing. Today, he turned the tables. He noted that the mainstream media might be “filing a bad story” right now, and if the bloggers were relying on the same wireless system at the hotel, they might be “clogging up the lines” and preventing them from filing.

If that’s the case, “thank you,” he said. “You’re doing the Lord’s work.”

Huckabee has repeatedly made baseless claims that his conservative causes are sanctioned by God. At a Republican Governors Association Dinner speech in 2004, Huckabee had a mock three-minute telephone conversation with God. During that time, Huckabee said that “we kind of think you’d hang in there with us, Lord, we really do.”

That may have been a mock phone call, but Huckabee probably thought he had the real thing before the dinner.

By the way, why is blocking the press the lord's work? What if the press were blocked from filing bad stories about McCain or Romney. Would that be the devil's work by chance?

Why Can't All the Candidates Do This?

Edwards isn't the only (Democratic) candidate that wants to end the war, but he is the only serious politician that has a serious plan. We know the Republican love to get their war on, false machismo is really all they can cling to. I'd like to think that our party is the one with a better head on it's collective shoulders and a party that can lead us out of the mess that seven years of George Bush created. After beginning to fix the Constitution (in order of importance) we must get our troops out of Iraq. Thankfully Edwards will do that.

From The NY Times:

Mr. Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who is waging a populist campaign for the Democratic nomination, said that extending the American training effort in Iraq into the next presidency would require the deployment of tens of thousands of troops to provide logistical support and protect the advisers.

“To me, that is a continuation of the occupation of Iraq,” he said in a 40-minute interview on Sunday aboard his campaign bus as it rumbled through western Iowa.

In one of his most detailed discussions to date about how he would handle Iraq as president, Mr. Edwards staked out a position that would lead to a more rapid and complete troop withdrawal than his principal rivals, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who have indicated they are open to keeping American trainers and counterterrorism units in Iraq.

When Iowa caucusers pick a corner tomorrow night, they should keep this in mind. When New Hampshire voters go in the ballot box later this month, they should keep this in mind. And when all the nation's Democrats go to vote in primary elections across the nation in the next few months.....well you know what to keep on your mind.

It Isn't All Roses And Daisies In Pasadena

There were plenty of flowers on hand at the Rose Parade yesterday, but Impeachment advocates were right there to show what this country needs the most.

Less Than 36 Hours To Go

Just like that, the year is now 2008 and the Iowa Caucus is slated for tomorrow. All of the campaigns are going nuts right about now (except for Rudy that is), scurrying about for caucus-goers to win Iowa town hall by town hall. It is an odd, old system they have over there in the Hawkeye state, but one nonetheless that is going to make or break many candidates. So how are the candidates doing it? All you have to do is take a look at either side of the partisan divide.

From The NY Times:

DES MOINES — On a bitterly cold New Year’s Day two days before the Iowa caucuses, the leading Democratic presidential candidates drew some of their largest crowds of this Iowa campaign season, while the top Republican contenders continued to ratchet up their attacks on one other.[...]

The Democratic side seemed to have more energy, as has been the case, with markedly larger crowds. Mr. Obama appeared to have a fresh bounce in his step as he set off on a fly-around tour of Iowa. His first event of the day drew more than 1,000 people here.[...]

Mr. Edwards, meanwhile, began a 36-hour marathon campaign swing Tuesday, starting with an event in Ames attended by more than 500 people.

“I had people coming up to me after this event today and saying they came in for Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and now they’re for me,” Mr. Edwards said at a news conference. “They just have to hear it, and they hear it and they hear it from me, and they respond.”

Obama and Edwards sound pretty positive, but the Republicans are doing what they do best, using fear....on each other:

As has been his pattern since his return to Iowa last week, Mr. Romney did not bring up Mr. Huckabee by name during his stump speeches Tuesday. But he bore into him in comments to reporters in Johnston, singling out a comment by Mr. Huckabee on Monday that was reported in The Quad City Times. According to the report, Mr. Huckabee took a shot at President Bush while defending himself from an embarrassing moment several weeks ago when it became clear that he did not know about a new National Intelligence Estimate about Iran’s nuclear program.

“President Bush didn’t read it for four years,” Mr. Huckabee was quoted as saying. “I don’t know why I should read it in four hours.”

Mr. Romney said, “This the kind of stuff you expect of the Democrats.”[...]

The new Web advertisement from the McCain campaign, aimed at Mr. Romney, features horrific images from what appears to be a suicide bombing.

Three-quarters of the way into the advertisement, the first words are spoken as an image of Mr. Romney appears. “Mitt Romney says the next president doesn’t need foreign policy experience,” the narrator says.

Then simply, “John McCain for president.”

You can tell where the higher concentration of warm and fuzzies are here, but in all seriousness, it is easy to see that while the race between Obama, Edwards and Hillary are tight, the race on the right wobbles more than Romney's ability to flip-flop on the issues. Democrats are dedicated to their candidates more or less, while the GOP can't keep it's head on straight.

Say It Ain't So Magic

I grew up as a kid loving Magic Johnson and the "Showtime" Lakers. Nothing thrilled me more than watching my hometown team beat up the rest of the League and win championship after championship. Los Angeles loved their team and all the players, but we loved Magic the most. I remember the day when my mom picked me up from school crying in the car. I thought something happened to my grandparents but it turned out that the world found out Magic announced that he had contracted HIV. Needless to say, it was a tragic day for any Laker fan.

Of course we all know that he can afford all of the latest drugs and in the last fifteen years has remained remarkably healthy. He is a tremendous asset to the community in L.A. and has done many great deeds, and if he wanted to, he could run and win a race for Mayor in a heartbeat.

So that is why I was shocked to see a piece in the Huffington Post this morning by Thomas Edsell who highlighted a series of coincidences that could point out that Magic's endorsement for Hillary was bought. As Edsell says, it isn't proof-positive that Magic switched from Obama to Hillary for a deal (and those involved deny it has anything to do with it) but a series of coincidences is always troubling, because generally I do not believe in multiple coincidences like that.

From The Huffington Post:

In June, Johnson, who is an extraordinarily successful entrepreneur, began talks with billionaire Ron Burkle about forming a joint investment fund of $750 million or more to take advantage of the growing and lucrative markets in inner city and minority-owned businesses, according to Eric Holloman, president of Johnson's Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund.

Burkle has been one of Bill Clinton's closest friends and supporters. Burkle and Bill Clinton were often seen together in and around Los Angeles, and Clinton frequently stayed at Burkle's mansion, which was the scene of much-reported partying. Burkle gave Bill Clinton a lucrative consulting job as a senior advisor to his investment firm, Yucaipa Companies.

When Hillary announced, Burkle became a strong backer and encouraged Johnson to support her.

This type of venture is right up Magic's alley, but is it enough to say that multi-millionaire Earvin Johnson would go from supporting Barack (to the tune of $2,300 early in 2007) to actively campaigning for Hillary (plus a $4,600 donation)?

Johnson's support for Hillary has been apparently unaffected by a separate development involving Bill Clinton and Burkle. In late September, well after Magic Johnson's Hillary endorsement and fundraiser, the relationship between Burkle and Bill Clinton was reportedly severely strained by a September 26 Wall Street Journal article detailing some of controversial dealings by Burkle's company, Yucaipa.

The WSJ story reported that a young Italian businessman had convinced Burkle and a Clinton aide to invest millions of dollars in a controversial and poorly-run venture buying up urban properties owned by the Catholic Church. Clinton, allegedly furious at Burkle, began the process of withdrawing from Yucaipa.

Hmmm, it makes one wonder, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

In Case You Somehow Missed It...

Pope Benedict Gay Bashes In The New Year

I swear, the Catholic Church is a real pain in the ass. The leader of it is probably one of the worst parts. Pope Benedict XVI rang in the New Year at the Vatican by crusading against anyone that does not hold up the 'values' of a traditional family, one that is comprised of man, woman and children. His comments are nothing but offensive and a slap at the true tenets of peace. That is to love all of God's creatures, not just the ones that think and talk like you, ya ignorant bastard.

From PageOne Q:

"Those who are hostile, even unknowingly, to the institution of the family ... make peace fragile for the entire national and international community," the Pope told crowds gathered in a sunny St. Peter's Square.

The German-born Benedict has made defending the traditional family a priority since being elected Pontiff in 2005 following the death of John Paul II, focusing much of his attention on Europe.

Gay marriage is legal in several European countries including predominantly Catholic Spain, where hundreds of thousands of Catholics rallied on Sunday in favour of the traditional family. The Pontiff had addressed the Spanish rally via a live video-link.

This guy is a nutcase, certified by the church and unfortunately followed by millions. Instead of talking about true world peace, he only creates more division in the world. As the leader of a large religious faith, Benedict only invites scorn upon himself while violating that whole "love thy neighbor" thing.

Monday, December 31, 2007

McCain's "Hypocritical Flip-Flop Express" Continues To Chug Along

I would never have imagined writing about John McCain for my last post in 2007. I thought this guy was dead in the water back in June. Now he is re-surging faster than George Bush can shred the Constitution. Of course the easy answer for this is because Republican voters hate all their choices and are leap-frogging from candidate to candidate. Remember when Fred Thompson was all the rage, or Mike Huckabee way back in mid-December?

Well anyways, I also remember McCain going into this mess back in late 2006 and he was being described as the "eventual nominee" much as Hillary was up until a month or two ago. My my how things can change in Presidential politics. So being the re-up and coming contender, it seems McCain is still up to his old tricks. Those tricks being saying one thing, even doing one thing, then turning around and doing the opposite.

From The Washington Post:

McCain began his anti-special-interest drive two decades ago after he and four other senators were accused of trying to influence bank regulators on behalf of donor Charles Keating, a savings and loan financier later convicted of securities fraud. The Senate ethics committee said McCain had used "poor judgment" but also said his actions "were not improper" and did not merit punishment.

Ever since, McCain has made high ethical standards a hallmark of his public persona. In his 2002 memoir, he wrote that "money does buy access in Washington, and access increases influence that often results in benefiting the few at the expense of the many." Just this month in Detroit, he told reporters that he had "never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special interest group -- that's a clear, 24-year record."

Nonetheless, a recent study by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute and the liberal advocacy group Public Citizen found that McCain has more lobbyists raising funds for his presidential bid than do any of his rivals. He has 32 "bundlers" of donations who are lobbyists. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) is the closest to him with 29 lobbyist bundlers, followed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) with 18.

McCain's campaign has also been guided by lobbyists. Davis, the campaign manager, is a former lobbyist who represented major telecommunications companies. The campaign's senior adviser is Charles R. Black Jr., chairman of BKSH & Associates, which represents drug companies, an oil company, an automaker, a telecommunications company, defense contractors and the steel industry, among others.

Not only is he guided by K Street, he likes to talk tough about another flip-flopper, who I would like to call King Flip-Flop, or Mitt for short. Romney is also going after his impromptu protege as he feels threatened by the Senator from Arizona.

It really is anyone's game...on both sides, but at least Democrats aren't playing tricks like these. I wonder who came up with that holiday card.

Stuff, Stuff And More Stuff

So, so true:

From The Onion

Giuliani Fades To Black In Iowa

The most important political event of the week occurs on Thursday over in Iowa. Every candidate is slugging it out in the Hawkeye State, all but one, Rudy Giuliani. He left Iowa on Saturday and isn't expected to return until after the caucus if not at all. His hopes in the state have been bleak at best, but once the Shag Fund story hit last month it has been all downhill since. Even when he was there, the presentation by the campaign was lackluster at best.

From The NY Times:

On one side of the street in the middle of town, Mike Huckabee was stumping at a restaurant. Outside was a big bus that said “Mike Huckabee” on it in huge letters, crowds of people and reporters milling around, and another campaign bus from C-Span. It looked like a Hollywood set of a presidential campaign, with all the trappings.

Across the street, Mr. Giuliani had a campaign stop in a bakery and restaurant. The place was pretty crowded, and the event attracted a lot of reporters and photographers, but it all seemed pretty low-key compared with the hoopla across the street – more like a campaign stop in a mayoral campaign than a presidential campaign.

Mr. Giuliani’s final town hall meeting, in Mt. Pleasant, had a better crowd. Aides pointed out to reporters that extra chairs had to be unfolded at the last minute to accommodate the audience. In the end, there were probably around 150 people there – a good-sized crowd for a Giuliani event, but a fraction of what other candidates draw.

Maybe he just doesn't get it, or perhaps he doesn't care. Doing damage control in what was friendly territory down in Florida is taking up more of his time nowadays. Damage control has been his priority ever since Judy Giuliani made all of the national papers. He can't break double digits in either Iowa or New Hampshire and is hedging his bets on the other early states, but that might not be enough for Mr. Tough Guy from the city.

A Green Ball To Drop In NYC

Tonight officially ends the year that was 2007. On this 365th day of the year people will begin to celebrate the coming of 2008 and all that it can entail. We'll elect a new President (thank god), a larger majority in the House and Senate and do many great things, both political and non-political. As we bring in the new year, New York will change up the most famous New Year's event on the planet, that being the ball drop. For one hundred years now, the East Coast marks the change by "dropping" a ball in Times Square, but this year it is getting a beautiful and energy-efficient makeover.

From the BBC:

The LEDs on the $1.1m (£550,000) New Year's Eve Ball that will descend on Monday will be able to create a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns on each of its 672 crystal triangular panels.

As well as being smaller and more energy efficient, the 9,576 lights will substantially increase the brightness to more than 625,000 lumens.

"I'm proud to be able to save energy and show off this technology to the world with such a special event," said Kaj den Daas, chairman of Philips Lighting, which made the LEDs.

I'm not exactly sure what a lumen is, except for being a way to measure the brightness of lights but it sure does sound exciting. I won't be there to see it first-hand, but cheers to the Times Sq revelers that have decided to mark the New Year by being outside in the cold. I'll be safe and warm down at a party in SoHo, but I am glad that the festivities will be going green for 2008.

Fred Who?

Things must be bad if Fox News is spending four to five minutes discussing Fred Thompson's Presidential aspirations....or should I say non-aspirations:

Chelsea Clinton Snubs 9 Yr Old Reporter

I remember being nine years old. It was a happy time in my young life, new sister, good friends, not a care in the world. Now for Sydney Rieckhoff, things are a bit different. She is a "kid reporter" for Scholastic News. Even though she's little, she is following the craziness of the campaigns and tries to ask the candidates questions. She's been good so far, especially since she's a cute kid and her questions tend not to be too tough. Yet for Chelsea Clinton, everything is off limits, even for Sydney.

From RawStory:

Sydney Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and "kid reporter" for Scholastic News, has posed questions to seven Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls as they've campaigned across Iowa this year. But when she approached the 27-year-old Chelsea after a campaign event Sunday, she got a different response.

"Do you think your dad would be a good 'first man' in the White House?" Sydney asked, but Chelsea brushed her question aside.

"I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute," Chelsea told the pint-sized journalist.

Damn, even at 27, she has already learned how to be cold, yet placating at the same time. I understand that Bill and Hillary wanted to shield her from the press when she was 'first kid,' but now that she is closing in on 30 (yeah, I used those words) it is time for her to face the music (at least from a 4th grader) when out working the rope line for her Mom.

Bloomberg Steps Up For The Poor

There is a lot I disagree on with our Mayor, but he isn't all bad. His green initiatives have merit and now a new look at how the poverty line is drawn could have a major impact on the city and possibly the country. The current system developed decades ago does not take into effect things like housing, medical and child care. These are things that greatly impact a family's budget and needs to be figured into the calculation.

From The NY Times:

The 42-year-old federal poverty standard, which is pegged to the annual cost of buying basic groceries, is widely viewed as outdated and off-target. The city’s formula would take into account the money families must spend annually on necessities including rent, utilities and child care. But it would also factor in the value of financial assistance received, like housing vouchers or food stamps.

The city’s efforts are already attracting attention. “There is widespread dissatisfaction with the current standard,” said Jack Tweedie, the director of the children and families program at the National Conference of State Legislators, which provides research to state legislators and policy makers.

“Because it is New York City adopting it, it could be a big step forward,” he said. “As it starts generating reports and data, others will be interested and you will get more momentum.”

Poverty is a huge problem that affects our country and one that isn't talked about much these days. Definitely not by the current Administration and even most Presidential candidates refrain from talking about those with the least amongst us.

It is often said that our city is the true capital of the country (and historically was for a few years), so why not lead by example here so others join in to at least begin to look at the problem with clear eyes?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Edwards Is Bringing The Message To Iowa

With four days to go, Iowa is all the rage, and many in the state are getting behind John Edwards. While the race is tight, all that matters is what corner of the room most Iowans end up in at the end of the night.

This War Is For You Satan

If there weren't enough wars going on for you (on drugs, on terror, on the constitution, etc etc) then I have good news, there is a new one and this isn't one to take lightly. The Pope wants to take on the devil, to conduct a full scale operation versus Satan and demonic possession. Satan is counter to all that is holy and he must be stopped. To convey a personal message from Pope Benedict XVI to George Bush, "my war is bigger than your war!"

From The Daily Mail:

The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.

Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.

They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness."

Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.

Clearly, George is going to have to come up with a new and bigger war to counteract the Pope's war. Obviously Satan is worse than terror, because Satan causes terror (right Mr. Robertson?) and Osama is merely a servant of Satan (not his own fanatical view of Islam). What war will the President think of with less than 387 days left in's going to have to be a good one.