Bloomberg held the State of the City address out in Flushing yesterday to not only celebrate the diversity of New York, but how it contributes to our well being and overall greatness. He invited immigrants from South Carolina to India to the event (who happen to live on the same street) as an example of how New York is a culture of diversity. I won't disagree with that, it is one of the reasons why I love New York, and detest Los Angeles. Their beaches and weather may be nicer...but that's about it, sorry.
Anyways, Bloomberg used this opportunity to slam the Republican candidates and called on them to open their eyes when it comes to immigration. The hodge podge of New York defies the fear based crap that the GOP likes to use. Especially when we have the lowest crime rate of any big city out there. Unfortunately, people like Mitt and McCain use hate and xenophobia to such an extent that their eyelids and ears have been sown shut, so they didn't hear him from the campaign trail.
Being that it is a new year, the Mayor also laid out what is in store for us in 2008 and all the programs that will/could go into effect. Things like "Virtual 911" will be instituted so you can multimedia message a crime in progress to the police. Sounds too good to be true to me and with the advent of photoshop, I can't wait to see what the NYPD is going to have to shuffle through on the message board. Besides, what happens if you're a victim who happens to be cellibate?
There's plenty more on the laundry list that tries to tackle public safety, poverty, economic development and a more efficient city government despite the oncoming recession and predicted budget deficits. The one bad thing about NYC is that the national market hits hard when it tanks, because Wall Street (despite making ridiculous money in bad times as well as good) will impact the rest of Manhattan and the five boroughs. How much so is to be determined. So I'd like to wish Bloomberg a happy seventh year in office and hopefully he'll get better at being Mayor and maybe even to STFU about running for President...I can dream right?
Friday, January 18, 2008
Bloomberg held the State of the City address out in Flushing yesterday to not only celebrate the diversity of New York, but how it contributes to our well being and overall greatness. He invited immigrants from South Carolina to India to the event (who happen to live on the same street) as an example of how New York is a culture of diversity. I won't disagree with that, it is one of the reasons why I love New York, and detest Los Angeles. Their beaches and weather may be nicer...but that's about it, sorry.
When you've got a good thing going for you, why not add to it? A few weeks ago several states sued the Bush Administration for denying them the opportunity to have stricter regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from cars than the federal government. The story got good press and more heat piled on the corrupted White House.
Now Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York are teaming up to take on a cold-weather climate problem, efficiency standards for gas furnances and home heating appliances. California may not use this as much as we do, but everyone wants to stay warm, but George Bush seems to want to have it be at the expense of the environment....and our pocketbooks.
From The New York Times:
The city’s Law Department, along with the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, argue that the new efficiency standards set by the federal Department of Energy last November are far too weak to significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions, or to help lower home heating costs that have hit people in the Northeast especially hard.
The new standard for the most common home heating appliance — the gas-fired furnace — was increased only slightly, going to 80 percent efficient from the previous 78 percent level.
Environmental groups had urged the government to raise efficiency standards for furnaces to at least 90 percent, which would represent meaningful reductions in home heating costs as well as the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.
“By adopting such weak standards, the Energy Department is telling New Yorkers and others that reducing greenhouse gases and heating bills just doesn’t matter,” Ramin Pejan, a lawyer with the city’s Law Department, said in a statement.
You would think that after Bush's pathetic display of pandering for cheaper crude oil prices and the subsequent smack-down from the Saudis that may be he'd come up with a way to be less dependent on oil. Ah, but then we would be forgetting all his friends in the oil industry, and their need to make a ridiculous profit on processing all that crude. Who cares if demand cruises by the amount of supply of this environment-robbing substance? Oh, our children and their children....um, well, that's their problem.
Sometimes the amount of news out there can be overwhelming. Election news, national news and of course all the scandals that surround the Bush Administration just barrel out of the Internets at an incredible pace. It is such a deluge that from time to time you can forget certain things that have gone on in the last few years. You know, things like millions of missing emails at the White House. And I couldn't even imagine (or stomach) working there, poor Tony Fratto forgets about the scandals too, even when he's talking about them to the press.
From The White House:
Q Tony, on the subject, could you address the missing White House emails and the law suit? It is a subject of reports this morning. Are there in fact the emails missing? What's the likelihood of their recovery versus the --
MR. FRATTO: I think our review of this, and you saw the court filing on this, and our declaration in response to the judge's questions -- I think to the best of what all the analysis we've been able to do, we have absolutely no reason to believe that any emails are missing; there's no evidence of that. There's no -- we tried to reconstruct some of the work that went into a chart that was entered into court records and could not replicate that or could not authenticate the correctness of the data in that chart. And from everything that we can tell, our analysis of our backup systems, we have no reason to believe that any email at all are missing.
Q So where are they?
MR. FRATTO: Where are what?
Thankfully there are competent people in government, people like Rep. Henry Waxman (my old Congressman!) who is still up on the case and is going to start hearings again into "Email-Gate" in the middle of next month. You know it is a bad sign when White House employees tell you one thing in September and what Tony Fratto said yesterday is a completely different story.
It is way past time to get the truth out of people like Fratto.
Albany is an interesting place. It is a place where business is confusing, slow and considerably corrupt. Spitzer said he'd clean it up last year, but he ended up making a big mess with hardly anyone liking him that much anymore. Business continues as usual, the machine keeps humming along. So when Eliot wants to raise the cigarette tax from $1.50 a pack to somewhere in the $2.50 to $3.00 range.
Well the good folks that sell cancer in a box at Philip Morris, oh, excuse me, Altria, the reputable folks at Altria see these possible tax raises they also know a decline in sales to teenagers as well as small declines across the board. So naturally, the lobby money comes out. In the past few weeks it has been to the tune of $100,000 dollars for both parties to share. Of course, lawmakers say they aren't influenced by such things.
From The Times Union:
Much of the money went to the Republican and Democratic Senate campaign committees' housekeeping, or soft money, accounts, including $35,000 to the GOP, which holds the majority, and $30,000 to the Democrats.
The contributions come as the Spitzer administration is considering raising the state's $1.50-per-pack excise tax on cigarettes. Budget experts have noted New Jersey charges $2.57, and groups like the American Cancer Society want a $3 charge.
Additionally, several counties, including Albany, Rockland, Tompkins and Onondaga, have over the past few years discussed raising from 18 to 19 the minimum age at which tobacco can be purchased. Suffolk County already has such a law, said American Cancer Society of New York spokeswoman Jennifer Cucurullo.
Altria gave $10,000 to the Onondaga County Republicans as lawmakers there are revisiting a so-called Tobacco 19 bill that passed in 2006 but was vetoed by then-County Executive Nicholas Pirro. The company also gave $9,500 to the Erie County Democrats.
So if none of this money influences lawmakers, the obvious question is, why give it in the first place? No one seriously believes the cigarette companies care about the communities and that the donations are for civic purposes as the spokeswoman for Altria suggests. I've seen "Thank You For Smoking" and re-learned all that I have known about those scumbags. The true test is when the new numbers for the tax come out, we'll see how much influence that money has over our elected officials in Albany.
Like other political bloggers, I generally refrain from talking about Britney Spears. She has turned into such a pitiful and sad disgrace of a human being. I remember liking her first and second music videos for a couple months back when I was a college freshman but then she was over with. The only problem was that the media wanted more, so that they could sell more magazines and TV ads on E Online! and wherever else.
This pop star is now teetering on the brink and you can forget about the media doing the responsible thing, which would be to leave her alone. Of course they want to make money, keep selling, selling, selling. What will she do next? Will she throw her kids in the air while doing jumping jacks? Maybe put in hair extensions and buzz them off like she did to her real hair. Society greedily eats it up and the media dishes it out. What a terrible conundrum it is. So Britney has these cameras shoved in her face and the only way she can cry out for help is to do even more outrageous activities. The publicity empowers her and at the same time prohibits her from seeing the powerlessness she has to whatever disease is destroying her head.
Now the media is smart enough to see this self-destruction, and instead of leaving her be, supposedly reputable organizations like the ASSOCIATED PRESS has decided to preemptively write her obituary. Why would they do this horrific act you ask? Well, as they put it, it would be "easily one of the biggest stories in a long time."
So much for 9/11 and global warming, I guess those things don't count when you are talking about a pop star trained to be this character for us to gawk over from her early childhood. Please people, stop watching her, it'll be the death of this woman who hasn't even seen 30 years of age.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
He seems to be a "likeable enough" guy on the outside, good smile, can be funny in front of a crowd stuff. Though a problem arises when you start to scratch the surface....he is just plain crazy. Forget what he Joe Scarborough about cooking squirrel in his college dorm room (ah, the good ol'days). I'm talking about the really crazy stuff, things that can affect the lives of not only squirrels but human beings as well.
Huck, in elaborating on his views that the Constitution should be subjected to Biblical standards, had just wrapped up a discussion of the fact that marriage has meant "a man and a woman in a relationship for life." With this context firmly established, this exchange followed:QUESTIONER: Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.
HUCKABEE: Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic.
That's pretty clear cut. Changing the definition of marriage so it can mean "two men" or "two women" is equivalent to changing it to mean "a man and an animal." No ambiguity here whatsoever.
Are you kidding me? Does this man believe what he is saying here? Unfortunately, yes, Huck comes straight from the crazy movement, those evangelical bastards (not all evangelicals mind you) that want to impose their version of god's will on us all, democracy be damned to hell. I don't know what those Iowan elephants were thinking, but I sure hope that the American electorate understands what they are doing when they vote for him, whether it is in a primary or (gasp!) a general election.
There's less than two weeks to go until Florida decides on their Republican of choice for the general election. Unfortunately for Rudy, his southern-most firewall state isn't too hot for him anymore. Now that everyone knows he's supposedly staking it out in the Sunshine State, Republicans all over the place are ruing the day he ever started this race and their own mental acuity for thinking about voting for him in the first place.
From The Gothamist:
People have been wondering about former mayor Rudy Giuliani's campaign for a long time (his presidential campaign plan notebook went missing last January! he pays more attention to his friends' advice versus that of election consultants). Now, with the Florida primary on the horizon, it seems his New York-based supporters are starting to worry.
The first few weeks of the new year have brought Giuliani embarrassing finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan as well as national polls - ones he used to lead with large margins - where he is now tied or in second or third place. The Times reports "supporters say they are confident that if Mr. Giuliani carries Florida or runs a very close second, he will remain the odds-on favorite" to take all delegates from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. But Cooper Union historian and Giuliani biographer Fred Siegel thinks Giuliani winning Florida requires "a miraculous comeback. I wouldn't bet on it."
Also, Giuliani's strategy to concentrate on Florida might be backfiring among voters. One Florida conservative told Newsday, "It concerns me that he really hasn't campaigned a lot, and he's placing everything on Florida," while another said, "He squandered his lead." And more damning, a Giuliani fan said, "I haven't seen him put out the effort yet." Ouch, but he does have 12 events scheduled for the Sunshine State this week.
I know that Republicans are having trouble making up their minds and placing their chips with any of the elephant candidates, but when it comes to this pachyderm things are looking pretty bleak.
Sometimes Republicans say the darnedest things. Whether its something covertly racist, hypocritical or out of plain ol' greed, their comments always seem to amuse me, in a sad/funny/ WTF kind of way. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota did not disappoint us today when she helped unveil the Republican bill to help the middle class (with tax breaks for corporations of course) by talking about how she views the hardworking citizens in her home state.
At a press conference today unveiling the stimulus proposal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) justified the conservative plan to give tax breaks to corporations — instead of working Americans — by arguing that people actually like working long hours:
I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We’re the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs.
Bachmann’s version of the American Dream is apparently working two full-time jobs and struggling to get by.
Gee, when I was growing up I always wanted to have two jobs and no time for my family. Isn't that what everyone wan......oh wait, thats what rich and greedy bastards like Bachmann want for the rest of us. Not for her to worry her pretty head about actually working hard for a change. Then again, maybe it is just hard work to get a hug (and other stuff) from the President.
Aww poor Hillary, she tried to have her underlings cheat for her in Nevada by limiting people from caucusing but the big mean judge dismissed her case. Hillary may not publicly talk about it, but the teachers union and her husband that support her have been vocal in trying to limit casino workers from caucusing in special precincts because they work during the hours of the normal caucus. Shame on her campaign for trying to pull this crap and endorsing the teachers union' legal maneuver.
From Yahoo News:
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judgewas presumed to be a boost for Clinton rival in the Democratic presidential caucuses Saturday because he has been endorsed by the union representing many of the shift workers who will be able to use the precincts on the strip.
"State Democrats have aright to association, to assemble and to set their own rules," Mahan said.
Nevada's Democratic Party approved creation of the precincts to make it easier for housekeepers, waitresses and bellhops to caucus during the day near work rather than have to do so in their neighborhoods.
The state teachers union, which has ties to Clinton, brought the suit against the special precincts shortly after local 226 of the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Obama for the Democratic nomination. The union is the largest in Nevada, with 60,000 members. The Clinton campaign said it was not involved in the suit.
Oh they may say they aren't involved now, but when the teachers thought they had a shot at ramming this through the courts many were gung-ho, including Bill. If his advocacy for this crap was out there, then that is good enough for me. Please, stop with these anti-democratic tricks and let as many people as possible caucus for whoever they want, even if their unions endorsed one candidate or the other.
Glenn Beck may have had his ass operated on, but doctors dropped the ball. They should have done mouth or brain surgery as well. Even after that traumatic surgery and the lack of care he saw despite having the best insurance, he still ripped the man that helped start programs that were meant to bring a better quality of life to all Americans, our 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Jokes are an interesting device of communication in the human species. Generally a joke is emitted to get a humorous reaction and to please the audience. Sometimes jokes are at the expense of another person, race or class in order to pick up the supposed 'superior' people, race or class. Unfortunately there are too many of these jokes out there, only "meant to be in jest" or whatever crap people explain it away with. Unfortunately here in America there are still too many William R. Farrs.
From The Rocky Mountain News:
William R. Farr was pretending to read telegrams congratulating this year's award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown, when he pulled out a piece of paper and said, "I have a telegram from the White House."
Then he added, "They're going to have to change the name of that building if Obama's elected."
Witnesses said they could hear people gasp in the ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel.
"I gasped," said Gov. Bill Ritter, who was sitting at the table with Farr.
Mayor John Hickenlooper said, "I don't think he (Farr) intended any mischief or malice, but it was inappropriate."
Afterward, Farr said he regretted making the remark and apologized to anyone offended.
"I apologize for that," Farr told a reporter as soon as the banquet ended.
Of course he apologizes for it. What politician wouldn't? Certainly every other politically astute and person of good moral fiber distanced themselves from Farr immediately. The audience was shocked. The fact remains the joke was made, and we all know where it comes from. Fear of change, loss of white power or whatever crap goes on in the little brains of people like Farr.
He can apologize all he wants, but we still sadly know that there are plenty of Americans out there that got a good laugh or at least a nervous chuckle. Racism is still alive and well, even if most of it nowadays is under the surface.
What happened on Monday at the Trump SoHo construction site is a terrible tragedy that should have been avoided. Building violations, a ridiculous and unsafe speed of construction and the aura of the Donald has resulted in the death of what friends and co-workers describe as a smiling, happy worker and a good-natured father. Instead of this Ukrainian immigrant working for his slice of the American dream, it was lost due to the greed that surrounds Donald Trump.
From The Gothamist:
The tragic death of a construction worker at the Trump Soho building has put the spotlight on the spotty history of a contractor on the project. On Monday afternoon, a worker, Yuriy Vanchytskyy (pictured below), fell 42 stories to his death when the molds he and other workers were pouring concrete into broke, causing a collapse into lower floors.
The NY Times notes that another worker, also working for subcontractor DiFama Concrete, died when he fell 60 feet at the site of a Midtown building in 2004. Since then, the Brooklyn-based company has been "repeatedly cited for serious safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration," with 11 of 17 federal violations being "described as serious."
The Daily News has photographs from the roof (pictured) right after the collapse and reports that the Department of Buildings found the wooden forms "did not meet industry standards." Staffers from the Manhattan DA's office were seen at the building site, 246 Spring Street - apparently DA Robert Morgenthau is monitoring the city's investigation.
Obviously the Department of Buildings isn't up to do it's job. If the Manhattan DA's office has to step in, you know there's a whole lotta shit going on in the DoB that needs to be aired out for all to see. Councilman Avella is out for blood, particularly that of Patricia Lancaster who runs the DoB who did not issue a stop-work order. I wish that ugly piece of crap was never built. It has been a stain on SoHo since it was sketched out and now it is cursed as well.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The language may be Polish, but it is a common theme in most families about how one ancestor or another brought their family to America to live the dream. It has been going on for over two hundred years and despite the anger directed towards us (a.k.a. George Bush) this is still a land of opportunity. This year, we need to elect a candidate that supports people like Maria and all Americans, whether they are immigrants in this generation or had ancestors who came on the Mayflower.
Thanks to the S.E.I.U. for posting this.
Hillary really is dragging her husband down to levels I never thought I'd have to see. I know that her surrogates can be rather nasty, but does her husband have to participate in that type of crap? No, he didn't sink to playing the race card but someone should put a 'bullshit alert' before attempting to see or read what he said about Hillary and Barack.
From USA Today:
SPARKS, Nev. (AP) — Bill Clinton, who carried Nevada in two general elections, urged voters Tuesday to buck labor endorsements for Sen. Barack Obama and support his wife in Saturday's hotly contested presidential caucuses as the only Democratic candidate with the experience necessary to change the country.
The former president trumpeted New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's accomplishments while painting Obama as the "establishment" candidate who would bring only the "feeling of change."
"One candidate says you should vote for me because I've not been involved at all in the struggles of the past and therefore we need to turn over a new leaf and (try) something absolutely new. And if you want the feeling of change, then that is the person you should support," Clinton said in a 75-minute speech to about 300 people in a YMCA gymnasium.
"The other candidate says vote for me because I spent a lifetime making change, raising hopes and fulfilling dreams for other people," he said about the former first lady.
I know Bill is trying to frame his wife into a candidate that the voters want to see. Ultimately all candidate do this to some extent, but with Hillary it goes over the top. If anything, she is the "establishment" candidate. She, or should I say "They" want to have it both ways, that her experience is why people should vote for her but that she has been creating change, therefore continue the status quo (of change).
Maybe Bill and Hillary do not want to hear this, but the status quo has not been anything resembling change. Fiscal conservatism ruled Bill's Presidency with items like welfare cutbacks with no real reform and then NAFTA caused a huge mess for the American worker. Overall he was pretty decent, but definitely no agent of the type of 'change' people want to see.
I would like to personally thank Glenn Greenwald for posting John King's email about a John McCain interview. By publishing it in its entirety, we can see the delusional grandstanding that "journalists" like King imagine themselves to be. At the same time, they like to belittle anyone that critiques them for things like...I don't know, fawning over candidates and letting them stick giant loads of bullshit up their ass. King isn't alone, many cable news whores are guilty of it, but the email gives a good look at the people in that industry.
Yesterday, I received a response from King via e-mail, the authenticity of which was confirmed in a subsequent exchange:From: King, John C
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 5:40 PM
Subject: excuse me?
I don't read biased uninformed drivel so I'm a little late to the game.
But a friend who understands how my business works and knows a little something about my 20 plus years in it sent me the link to your ramblings.
Since the site suggests you have law training, maybe you forgot that good lawyers to a little research before they spit out words.
Oh trust me, it goes on and on, belittling Glenn for not reading up and doing his homework, blah, blah, f'in blah. Any of these buffoons can whine about how they are professionals and bloggers are just scum of the Earth (on both sides of the political spectrum) who just like to rant about people who supposedly are unbiased reporters. Well Glenn obliterates that argument:
They invariably point to criticisms from both Left and Right as proof that they're unbiased straight-shooters. They chide you for being unaware of the secret, concealed information (interview questions that weren't broadcast, paragraphs that were edited out) which somehow disproves your critique of what they did broadcast or publish.
They proudly inform you that there have, indeed, been some instances over the many decades that they've been working when they've stood up to someone and asked something other than mindlessly reverent questions, and if you had looked hard enough, you might have found a couple. They tell you it's appalling to comment on what they publish to their readers or viewers without first talking to them about it, even though you linked to or even printed in full everything they said and wrote. And they close by telling you that you have no standards, no ethics, no understanding of their Complex Profession, and no decency -- that you're just a shrill, ignorant partisan pushing a lowly agenda while they are in the business of Real Unvarnished, Objective Reporting.
Ponder how much better things would be if establishment journalists -- in response to being endlessly lied to and manipulated by political officials and upon witnessing extreme lawbreaking and corruption at the highest levels of our government -- were able to muster just a tiny fraction of the high dudgeon, petulant offense, and melodramatic outrage that comes pouring forth whenever their "reporting" is criticized. All this energized invective from King because CNN aired an "interview" with the GOP front-running presidential candidate consisting of one adoring question after the next, which I printed in full.
That is the problem, they are beyond manipulated by the politicians in Washington. By sucking up to people like McCain they ultimately forget the people they are supposed to be serving, the viewers. When so-called journalists like King ask pathetic non-invasive questions of McCain and others, the freedom of Americans who tune in suffers by limiting their access to things they want to know that are essential to their day to day lives.
They just can't make up their minds, but for the few GOP supporters Sam interviewed, they'd take Ronald Reagan over their favored choice in a heartbeat:
Honestly, I wasn't alive in the 1970s, but studying American history and hearing from those that are older than me I got a good grasp on what inflation can do to a society. Of course the Weimar Republic was much, much worse, but that is a whole nother' story. President Bush has been talking up our terrible economy by spraying cheap perfume on it with the help of the Fed lowering interest rates these past few years. Now all the tweaking is coming to crash upon us. Unemployment is up, the housing bubble is slowly deflating and now, inflation is skyrocketing.
The Labor Department reported that wholesale inflation was up 6.3 percent for all of 2007, reflecting a huge increase for the year in various types of energy costs ranging from gasoline to home heating oil.
The year ended on a more positive note, with wholesale prices falling by 0.1 percent in December. That reflected decreasing costs at the time for gasoline and other energy products. It was a significant slowdown after prices had soared by 3.2 percent in November, which had been the biggest one-month increase in 34 years.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales fell by 0.4 percent in December. It was a worse-than-expected decline and increased worries that the country could topple into a recession.
Just another reason to deem President Bush the worst in our nation's history. And of course the Fed is a large participant in the failure of the economy....along with the credit card industry....and the sub-prime lenders....and mass consumerism....you get the picture.
Everyone is talking about Michigan this morning and what it means for the Republican party and its future. Mitt's first win in an important state takes the wind from McCain's sails since they inflated in New Hampshire and Huckabee is still following along after his upset in Iowa. What does it all mean? Did the Democrats do the trick in the mitten-looking state? Could it have been a combination of that and the fact that the Republicans have no idea who they like in their primary so they'll just vote for a different candidate in each state? I'm guessing its a mix.
The conclusions from this are many. This was clearly not what the G.O.P wanted, damn, they even sent out a press release congratulating McCain on his win. Obviously that little piece of paper was written a while back with some sort of intention for the Senator from Arizona.
The implications though could be much worse (for the Republicans) than screwing with who should or should not win the primary according to the party brass. As LithiumCola points out, maybe Republicans don't want a "Gipper" junior. Everyone in the race over there has been desperate to point out that they are more like Reagan than the rest of the pack. Maybe, their voters don't really gave a rat's ass. Most likely they are just fed up and deep down know that their party suffers from no ideas and the stench of corruption and it permeates from everyone up on their stage.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Well the debate is now over in Las Vegas. It seems that all three candidates (sorry Kucinich fans) conducted themselves in a professional manner (unlike their Republican counterparts recently). A whole host of issues were covered and those that watched it had the chance to learn a lot about what the candidates stand for. NBC did an o.k. job except for a few of their "narrative" questions but the candidates rebuked them and kept the debate on the issues instead of focusing on gender and racial issues.
So it went off smoothly, but do you remember when the Nevada Democratic party was going to let Fox News host the event? Thank god they didn't. Over on the Faux News channel they covered the issue of John Edwards and Nataline Sarkisyan's death on the 'blonde bimbo show' (my apologies to non-Fox news blonde bimbos) yesterday and it reminds us exactly what type of network Fox is.
"How irresponsible of Edwards to exploit this situation for his own political gain," scolded Colwin. "Cigna did their due diligence."
Kugel pointed out that the company eventually relented, amid heavy protests from nurses unions, and agreed to pay for a transplant for Sarkisian, whose liver had failed due to treatments for relapsed leukemia. The company's decision came too late, though, and Sarkisian died late last year.
"That certainly does show that they did have the capability of paying for it," she said, arguing that it proves the family's case in a lawsuit against the insurer.
The Kelly's Court segment ended with a final word from the host, brushing over other complaints about insurance company penny-pinching to get in one last dig at the third-place Democratic presidential candidate.
"It is not clear at all that Cigna is to blame here," Kelly scolded. "And for John Edwards to make it a campaign issue before all the facts are in makes him sound more like the med-mal [medical malpractice] lawyer he was for years, and less like a presidential candidate."
I'm sorry, is Kelly being paid by Cigna for this crap? Or does Roger Ailes have a tight friendship with Cigna and the health insurance industry as a whole? The facts show that Cigna was grossly negligent in this case as they are in many others, because the bottom line is that insurance companies care more about their bottom lines than they do about the patients they are supposed to be insuring.
As for Edwards making this a campaign issue, he is wholly in the right to make it a major issue, because Americans are sick and tired of being treated like commodities by corporations that take advantage of people whenever and wherever they can.
Although only twenty percent of the vote is in (as of 9:30 PM EST), it seems Mitt Romney has pulled off his first real victory in Michigan. This is sure to boost his campaign (and keep it going, period) and enabling the attack ads from the multi-millionaire Massachusettian (sp) to be able to spit upon the rest of the Republican pack. This is great news for Democrats, allowing us to watch the circular firing squad continue. No empathy for McCain and Huckabee in this corner. So, being that Michigan has an open primary, was this victory pushed on the nation by Michigan's Democrats?
No one can say for sure, but in the past Republican voters have certainly crossed over to elect fringe candidates like Jesse Jackson in 88' and others as well. So perhaps they got a taste of their own medicine, but Republican pundits will probably say otherwise. Eh, whatever, they can say what they want. What is for certain is that Mitt stays in the race and will continue to spend his
I generally cannot stand Shepard Smith and someone that argues to keep
the torture facility in Cuba Guantanamo Bay open, especially this kook down below. Though I'm glad to see Fox giving people like Spencer Boyer of C.A.P. the opportunity to show the tards' who watch the channel some insight into what goes on down there and why it should be closed for good.
Campaign season is a tough one for those that follow along too close. Of course it is great to be invested in a candidate that you believe in, but sometimes it can be draining. One small way that the true believers pick themselves up is by seeing a like-minded individual pass them by on the street or in their car. Seeing a campaign button or bumper sticker does the trick. So what if you were able to see a button for a candidate that you believed in no matter who you agree with....even if you had to go all the way back to George Washington?
Personally, I'd want to see that:
Americans routinely used to wear their political hearts on their sleeves — or at least on their lapels. George Washington proudly displayed his own on his chest when he was inaugurated as the nation’s first president, where Federal Hall now stands in Lower Manhattan.
Nearly two centuries later, in 1968, a 10-year-old Manhattan student named Jordan M. Wright glommed a handful of Bobby Kennedy for President buttons from a Midtown campaign headquarters. Since then, Mr. Wright, a New York lawyer and magazine publisher, has amassed a collection of political paraphernalia that he estimates now includes more than one million items.
He has donated the collection to a foundation he created to establish a Museum of Democracy in the city. He lent many of the items promoting local candidates and causes to the Museum of the City of New York for an exhibition, “Campaigning for President: New York and the American Election,” scheduled to open in June.
Damn, I'm headed to the Museum of NYC next weekend, so I will definitely have to go back in June. This political junkie definitely wants a fix of that. I wonder how long it would take to look at over a million different pieces of what field organizers call "chum."
Not only is Chris a woman-hating misogynist, he's a typical DC pundit who only wants to see American politics through his own thick, scratchy glasses. Last night on Hardball he listed his top six candidates from both parties and conveniently left John Edwards out of the rankings. Who, you ask, did he put in his place? None other than bottom of the barrel Rudy Giuliani, who has a make or break primary in Florida on the 29th of this month. Tweety, you truly do exhibit the worst kind of wishful thinking.
From Crooks and Liars:
During the Power Ranking segment on Monday’s Hardball, Chris Matthews decided to snub Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, choosing instead to insert the floundering Rudy Giuliani into the list. Not one word about Edwards, but Tweety believes that Rudy is still in the hunt for the GOP nod, giving him the last slot in the rankings.
Surprisingly, (or not) Matthews had just shown poll numbers from Nevada showing a virtual three way tie among Democrats, but apparently that, being right on the important issues of the day and having a solid primary season thus far, wasn’t enough to propel Edwards over Rudy — who is going broke, plummeting in the polls and is throwing everything he’s got into the Florida race to try and save his joke of a campaign. There’s a real power player if I’ve ever seen one.
I know it is hard to ignore numbers that show Edwards in a three way statistical tie for Saturday's Nevada caucus when you want the race to be all about Obama and Clinton, but try and make a change. Try and look at all the facts. Ditch the narrative and report on what the voters are thinking about for their choice to be President.
Ah, here's a little candidate psychology for you this morning. Everyone knows that his mostly grown kids despise him. Caroline, his daughter even endorsed Barack Obama on her facebook profile. So much for supporting dear old Dad. Now, could it be how he left their mother, giving her the news at a press conference in City Hall? Or is there something that goes back, way back to when they were just cute little peanuts in diapers?
In the course of the New Hampshire primary, Darren Garnick, a writer for Slate.com., set out on a quest to photograph his 5-month-old daughter Dahlia being held by every one of the candidates.
Darren and his wife Stacy appeared on CNN on Monday to describe the results and show off some of the photos.
Barack Obama held little Dahlia like someone who knows his way around babies, cradling her securely and looking into her eyes. "I would vote for him just for that," was Stacy's comment on the photo.
Hillary Clinton also got a top score from Garnick. "Hillary's a natural," he said. "She was very warm."
In the photo with Rudy Giuliani, however, Dahlia is wailing and Giuliani seems almost as upset. "Rudy wasn't happy," said Garnick. "Dahlia smiled for the first two seconds and then she started crying and Rudy was panicky. ... He didn't want to be photographed with a screaming baby. ... He tossed her right back to me like a football."
This isn't a Jets or Giants game Rudy, we are talking about young precious life, the kind you are now protecting (or claim to at least) from the point of conception. So when they come out into the world, this is how you treat them? If they make you look bad, toss em' back? I don't blame little Dahlia for crying, I'm sure he had it coming.
The battle for the Democratic nomination has turned quite ugly in the last couple of weeks. Seems those caucuses and primaries have a huge effect on people. Race cards and gender cards have been thrown around like a pack of bicycle cards, and messier than when put pressure on both ends of the deck and have each card rocket out of your hand. Thankfully Barack Obama made the first move, by offering some sort of olive branch, before we descend into Republican ethics (meaning none whatsoever).
You have seen a tone on the Democrat[ic] side of the campaign that has been unfortunate. I want to stipulate a couple of things. I may disagree with Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights. They are good people. They are patriots....
I don't want the campaign at this stage to degenerate to so much tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, that we lose sight of why we are doing this.
Obama said he wants to send "a strong signal to my own supporters that let’s try to focus on the work that needs to get done. If I hear my own supporters engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or unfair, I will speak out forcefully against it....
Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically been on the right side of civil rights issues. They care about the African American community.... That is something I am convinced of. I want Americans to know that is my assessment.
O.k., very good Mr. Obama. Now, what say you Hillary?
"Over this past week, there has been a lot of discussion and back and forth - much of which I know does not reflect what is in our hearts.
"And at this moment, I believe we must seek common ground.
"Our party and our nation is bigger than this. Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women's rights movement, workers' rights movement, and other movements for justice in America.
"We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes - President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King - Senator Obama and I are on the same side.
"And in that spirit, let's come together, because I want more than anything else to ensure that our family stays together on the front lines of the struggle to expand rights for all Americans."
Now was that so hard to do? The trick now is to stick to that and run with it to the convention or until one or the other (or both) drop out beforehand.
Monday, January 14, 2008
What a shame. They claim it is an unfair advantage that this Olympian runs on special prosthetics. I couldn't imagine what is more unfair than not having your own two legs to compete against some of the best athletes in the world.
Shame on the IAAF for banning him, this isn't Marion Jones were talking about.
Sad news to report from SoHo this afternoon, an accident atop the construction site for the illegal and future Trump SoHo has fatally injured one worker. According to individuals in the area with good positions across the street, a wet cement hopper was being hauled up to the 42nd floor when it suddenly opened and unleashed the cement, partially collapsing two floors and knocking the worker to his death. This terrible tragedy is being deflected by Trump's office and I'm sure he is doing his best to keep the illegal project going as fast as possible.
From The Gothamist:
Update 2:56PM: EMS, NYPD, FDNY, OEM, and DOB are on the scene. Reader Scott who had been looking out his window when the incident occurred wrote:I watch that crane all day long and happened to be looking right at it when the accident happened. It was carrying a hopper full of wet cement up to the top floor to presumably be poured into plywood molds for the columns or floor up there. As the hopper just barely passed the top corner of the building, it was brought over the top of the building and it simply opened up and dumped all of it’s contents on that corner. The wet cement rained down, collapsing the top two floors on the corner and a lot of debris went into the safety net.
I think it’s important to note that the crane did not appear to do anything wrong. It did not appear to strike the building at all or have any problems. I think the fault was in the wet concrete hopper. It simply opened up for no reason and emptied all the wet concrete out at once.
Of course all of this could have been avoided, but the Donald is just too greedy. Many complaints have been lodged before and during this monstrosity is being constructed. Trump even gave the go-ahead despite it being above an ancient burial ground. What a sick bastard. What a terrible tragedy that this had to happen, when it easily did not have to.
These two sub-species aren't related, but both are huge trouble-makers, one for the Persian Gulf and the other for the entire planet. For decades, the infamous "Filipino Monkey" broadcast over naval radio channels, causing havoc and making jokes at the expense of the ship traffic that constantly goes through the Strait of Hormuz. Now that the other monkey (a.k.a. our pRezident) has heightened tensions against Iran and their southern waters, things can get very ugly, very quickly.
From The Guardian:
A heckling radio ham known as the Filipino Monkey, who has spent years pestering ships in the Persian Gulf, is being blamed today for sparking a major diplomatic row after American warships almost attacked Iranian patrol boats.
The US navy came within seconds of firing at the Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz on January 6 after hearing threats that the boats were attacking and were about to explode.
Senior navy officials have admitted that the source of the threats, picked up in international waters, was a mystery.
The heckler nearly provoked a potential first battle between the U.S. and Iran, possibly setting off a ridiculous war that would have enough cheerleaders here at home to make it just as ugly as our occupation in Iraq. Thankfully no one was killed and nothing was sunk, only increased hostility by the U.S. and tensions brought up another few notches on both sides. The U.S. claims that Iranian boats acted with aggression while the opposite was proclaimed by the Iranians.
Who to believe, who to believe? George Bush and his band of war hawks, or a nation that has no desire to fight the United States while maintaining their regional power in the Middle East and potentially the whole of South Asia. War would be the dumbest choice for them, as it would be for us. The question who cares about keeping their sanity more, us or them?
I'm not surprised when Karl Rove uses racism when he opines on Presidential politics. He has made his living dividing and conquering people based on race, fear and whatever else it takes to win at any cost. What makes me sad is when Democrats use the same crap on themselves. For the most part Barack Obama has stayed above that, sure he has delivered some low blows, but nothing that would evoke a gender card accusation, even from his harshest critics.
Now Hillary hasn't really used the race card on Obama, but her surrogates sure have. Obama's people haven't pulled the feminine stereotypes out, unfortunately idiots like Chris Matthews and a few others friends of his in the media have done enough damage. Just because the media has attacked Hillary on nonsense, that doesn't give her people the right to attack Barack for being black.
As many of the commentators swooning over Obama on the night of the Iowa caucasus noted, Barack was not running as a "black" candidate. He did not have the militancy and anger (fully understable militancy and anger, in my view) of Jesse Jackson or Sharpton. So he was not scarey to white people. He was running as a post-racial candidate.
I don't think that the Clintons are personally racist. However, their political biographies do show that they will do just about anything to win elections - they are the consummate hardball players (which might stand Hillary well in the general election, but anyway...). When Hillary made comments about LBJ's doing the heavy lifting in the civil rights revolution, and when Andrew Cuomo referred to Obama (implicitly) as "shucking and jiving" I think that they knew exactly what they were doing. Neither Hillary nor Cuomo makes comments like that to the press without thinking them out carefully. Both are experienced politicians from highly political families.
The purpose of the comments was to wave a red cloak in the face of the Obama people, and get them to respond with charges of "racism". Then suddenly Obama would be an angry "black" candidate again in the eyes of at least some white voters.
The psychological dynamics are very similar to those of Bill's 1992 "Sister Souljah" moment, and, I suspect, just as carefully calculated.
Of course Bill and Hillary deny all this, but come on, most people know how dedicated they are to winning this race. Obama might just undo all their hopes and dreams for another four or eight years in the White House. As long as you can distance yourself as much as possible from that dirty, racist campaign technique, then why not, especially with the lust to win.
Hillary is never going to just come out and say it, leave it to the Republicans to do the full monty. They already know that they have no credibility with African-American voters so why not get as many points with the bigots and racists out there.
As for right now, in the midst of the Democratic primary, Hillary will do whatever she thinks it takes. It isn't that hard to imagine her going with this "strategy," however demoralizing it is for racial progress in America.
If you follow any kind of financial news, you've noticed that gold and oil are off the charts, the Taj Mahal is no longer accepting our dollar and Bush continues to say things are just peachy. Well, there may be some truth in that, for New York City. For every action there is some sort of reaction in economics, and for the sake of the dollar and it plunging against other countries, that is good news for the Big Apple.
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) ― With a falling dollar sweetening the deal, a rising number of international travelers chose the city as their destination in 2007, spurring a record-setting year that saw visitors spend an estimated $28 billion in the metropolis, tourism officials said.
With a final count still pending, the city's tourism office said Sunday that an estimated 46 million people had visited the city in 2007 -- up 5 percent from the year before. The jump was largely due to visitors from other countries, who numbered an estimated 8.5 million -- a growth of 17 percent.
George Fertitta, chief executive of city tourism office NYC & Company, said the visitors were drawn by more than a favorable exchange rate and the city's international marketing efforts.
Sure, marketing efforts are nice, but it really comes down to the deals to be had for foreign tourists that flock to the city. Prices in London are more than double for much of the same stuff that you find in stores here. Basically just scratch out the dollar sign and replace it with the sign for the pound on the tags.
So Americans are getting screwed nationwide and their money is increasingly worth less and less and George keeps telling us how great things are, despite the recession that is beginning to hit us. At least New York gets a little extra revenue, though in the end $28 billion is a drop in the national bucket.
Pundits came together at PBS yesterday to debate if people should talk about politics while on the job. Thankfully most of the panel agreed that the First Amendment trumps all, but the producers and the host used the polarization (mostly caused by Republicans) in this country to perhaps limit free speech at work.
If any employer is considering doing something like this, expect lawsuits, so please, remember that your office is in America (ya know, land of the FREE, home of the brave, etc etc).
George Bush is certainly having a lovely time on his first trip outside the country this year. After visiting the holy sites in Israel, he traveled on in the region, visiting various spots around the tumultuous Middle East. Despite the surroundings of royalty in various kingdoms such as the U.A.E. things remain the same in the fortress that is Bush's mind. Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan can take him to palatial tents in the desert while holding falcons (and photo-shopped lightsabers) and eating like a Sultan and then Bush can give a little speech about his wonderful hosts and the
bullshit talk commitment to help find peace in the region, but the press knows better.
No, I'm not talking about the American press, for the most part they just dutifully write down what the Administration tells them (with few exceptions). Since he is in the Middle East, the big news for local media is his visit. The main difference between their media and ours is that while in America the corporate interest trumps all, over there whatever government owns media company X is the dominant interest.
Ironically, CBS did a story on the Arab press and their reactions to Bush and his trip. Of course CBS won't mention their own masters at Viacom, but that must be for another time. As they note, it is interesting to watch Al Jazeera's and Al Arabiyya's focus differ, each one subtly trying to create a narrative that is good for the Qatari and Saudi government respectively.
Bush wants the war in Iraq to continue while pushing for a fight with Iran. Everyone knows this by now so it is sadly a mute point to try and debate if he wants to have more wars. The questionable thing in the Middle East is peace with Israel. That is the biggest question mark in the region and has been since Israel achieved statehood nearly sixty years ago. For the most part, both Israelis and their Arab neighbors see this trip as too little, too late for the American President.
For us, we can't wait until he's gone so we can start rebuilding here at home, but over there, in the scheme of International relations, our power in the region is seen as waning and not just in 2008.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, who are you trying to fool. Of course good ol' Timmy was going to have you on his show this morning, especially with your big New Hampshire win last week. You could have kept up the great performance leading up to that primary, but instead you went back to your old tricks. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that shit just ain't gonna work anymore. Not with us, the Democratic base. Tell it to anyone else and see if they believe you, but not here, not now, not after five years of opposing this war. Your tried excuses for your vote to go to war with Iraq will just not fly.
Clinton justified her 2002 Iraq war vote again on Meet the Press, saying that she thought "it was a vote to put inspectors back in” so Saddam Hussein could not go unchecked. She insisted that she was “told by the White House personally” as were others that that’s what the resolution was for and noted that Bush himself said publicly that the resolution was the best chance to avoid a confrontation.
Moderator Tim Russert pointed out that the title of the resolution was the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.”
Clinton responded saying, “We can have this Jesuitical argument about what exactly was meant. But when Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution said, 'It was not a vote for war,' What I was told directly by the White House in response to my question, 'If you are given this authority, will you put the inspectors in and permit them to finish their job,' I was told that's exactly what we intended to do. ”
Look, I know the only tool in Timmy's shed is the gotcha technique but Hillary has to be kidding herself if she thinks her response to that gotcha moment did her any favors. I don't care what Chuck Hagel told you or that the White House promised to let the inspectors do their job. If you believed the White House on Iraq or any issue, then you were a fool then and to defend your vote now shows not much has changed.
Whoops, the anti-war candidate of the right forgot about the events not even eight years ago, that's gotta hurt when your in a crowd of warhawks like McCain, Giuliani et al.
For me, any war movie is bad enough to convince me of the horrors of this legalized violence. Of course that's Hollywood....real life is much worse. Thousands of dead civilians, combatants who accept to lose their lives for some sort of "cause" and that doesn't even begin to describe the hellish reality of modern warfare, such as the use of white phosphorous gas and many other chemical agents. Many war hawks will tell me this is necessary to win the battle and blah blah blah.
Well, what about our soldiers when they come home. Should they just suck it up and live a normal life? Maybe some can, but many cannot. The NY Times story this weekend on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the propensity for violence after the battlefield has to stir something in even the hardest of souls.
From The NY Times:
Mr. Sepi did not like to venture outside too late. But, plagued by nightmares about an Iraqi civilian killed by his unit, he often needed alcohol to fall asleep. And so it was that night, when, seized by a gut feeling of lurking danger, he slid a trench coat over his slight frame — and tucked an assault rifle inside it.
“Matthew knew he shouldn’t be taking his AK-47 to the 7-Eleven,” Detective Laura Andersen said, “but he was scared to death in that neighborhood, he was military trained and, in his mind, he needed the weapon to protect himself.”
Head bowed, Mr. Sepi scurried down an alley, ignoring shouts about trespassing on gang turf. A battle-weary grenadier who was still legally under-age, he paid a stranger to buy him two tall cans of beer, his self-prescribed treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
As Mr. Sepi started home, two gang members, both large and both armed, stepped out of the darkness. Mr. Sepi said in an interview that he spied the butt of a gun, heard a boom, saw a flash and “just snapped.”
In the end, one gang member lay dead, bleeding onto the pavement. The other was wounded. And Mr. Sepi fled, “breaking contact” with the enemy, as he later described it. With his rifle raised, he crept home, loaded 180 rounds of ammunition into his car and drove until police lights flashed behind him.
“Who did I take fire from?” he asked urgently. Wearing his Army camouflage pants, the diminutive young man said he had been ambushed and then instinctively “engaged the targets.” He shook. He also cried.
Thankfully for Mr. Sepi, the District Attorney cut him a deal where he got sober, rehabbed in Prescott, AZ (known for its treatment centers) and now lives a much more stable life. Any of these troubled soldiers could have a happy ending like this kid, but our government does not invest enough to make a difference. Supporting our troops is just a phrase on a bumper sticker to the Bush Administration. They are much better at creating another generation of PTSD victims than helping them to recover.
How does a story like this not affect you, it certainly affects young Mr. Sepi in the most devastating way. And he's not an isolated case, the Times found at least 121 cases of veterans killing someone once they've returned home from battle. Many have been reported to be re-living combat experiences. Not surprisingly, the Pentagon and the Justice Department do not tally cases like this, and the VA has an ill-equipped system to deal with and treat these veterans. PTSD, while not curable is certainly treatable, unfortunately many slip through the cracks and end up in jail, not having the chance to learn how to re-integrate into society.
Mike Huckabee can't (and won't) shed his Baptist Minister identity while he is running for President. The Evangelical already has one massive victory in Iowa under his belt and is gunning for South Carolina in a few short days from now. Instead of talking about policies, issues and for the most part, empty rhetoric, Huckabee forgot about GOP politicking and went straight for the rabidly religious' guts. He started preaching.
From the AP:
"The criteria to get into heaven is you have to be not good, but perfect. That's the real challenge in it," he said at First Baptist North Spartanburg, a megachurch with 6,000 members.
"On that day, when I pull up, I'll be asked, `Do you have what it takes to get in?'" Huckabee said. "And if I ask, `Well, what does it take to get in?' 'Gotta be perfect.'"
"Well, I'm afraid I don't have that, but you know what, I won't be there alone that day. Somebody is going to be with me. His name is Jesus, and he's promised that he would never leave me or forsake me," he said.
Huckabee didn't ask for votes or discuss the campaign, but senior pastor Michael S. Hamlet encouraged the congregation to vote according to how they try to live their lives, by the principles of Bible scripture.
"I'm going to tell you something, when you go vote, you ought to follow those principles," Hamlet said.
Welcome to Evangelical land, where the belief is that religion and government go hand in hand, and those silly founding fathers had no idea what they were talking about. For years Republican candidates placated these people, singing to their choir while they crossed their fingers and toes at the same time. Evangelical votes were great, but not enough to adhere to their every desire.
Now that Huckabee, one of their own is running, many bible belters see the promised land ahead and are coming out in droves for a very likeable guy. Now, what scares the shit out of a progressive like me is music to their ears. He is very open about turning our democracy into a Christian nation, and there are plenty of parishioners that are willing to follow along.