Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mercedes-Benz Is Going Completely Green

Mercedes-Benz has been a world-class automotive maker for over 120 years and now they are trying to lead the world in the 21st century. Their cars have led the way in performance, safety and for the most part, looks. Now with the energy crisis becoming more important by the day, they are shedding their fuel inefficiency by producing all their cars without the need of gasoline.

From EcoGeek:

In less than 7 years, Mercedes-Benz plans to ditch petroleum-powered vehicles from its lineup. Focusing on electric, fuel cell, and biofuels, the company is revving up research in alternative fuel sources and efficiency.

The German car company has a few new powertrains in the line-up that European journalists have had the opportunity to test out in their facility in Spain. One vehicle includes the F700, powered by a DiesOtto engine that combines HCCI and spark ignition to get nearly the same efficiency as diesel, but minus the expensive after-treatment systems. The engine can run on biofuels, and we may have a purchasable vehicle by 2010 – a year that seems to be popular for the debut of a lot of new alternative fuel car models, making ’08 and ’09 simply thumb-twiddling years for consumers. I don’t know, maybe car makers just like the roundness of “2010.” The company’s next big step will be to launch a Smart electric car which is fuel and emission-free.

Anyway, Mercedes is looking into electric vehicles, both battery powered and fuel cell powered. Not only are models in development, but we’ve also seen the company making steps towards their zero petroleum goal right now, from better cabs in London to Li-Ion battery improvements. The company also has about 100 Smart electric cars undergoing testing in London, with that favorite 2010 year as the projected market release date. Mercedes is making serious investments, already putting nearly $4 million into the pot of their long-term Sustainable Mobility plan, with another over $14 billion going in before 2014.

Europe is definitely the place to be for more fuel-efficient and zero-emission automobiles. The other side of the pond has understood the implications of global warming for some time now and we are just beginning to catch on. With the help of companies like Mercedes, we can achieve the goal of creating a better world for our children and all future generations. They may not be perfect at the moment, but all of us need to pitch in to help, whether it be by purchasing greener cars, driving less or simply buying local products (that do not have to travel far, thereby reducing the use of gas).

Bill Moyers Profiles Big Oil

No one can examine an issue quite like Bill Moyers. When it comes to such a hot topic like oil and our addiction to it, we need to look more closely and often enough to really get on the ball and do something constructive about it.

Con Edison Spits In Their Union Workers' Faces

Well, not literally phlegm, but their offer certainly felt like it. Con Edison, after stalling in their talks with the Utility Workers Union, they decided on giving the thousands that keep New York City humming a pitiful excuse for a raise. As union leaders said, the deal is just "asinine."

From The Gothamist:

Thousands of Con Ed employees may be striking tomorrow, if the utility keeps up their act. Joe Flaherty, spokesman for the Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America, said of Con Ed's 0.5% base raise, "They want us to strike, no doubt about it. Half a percent, followed by 1% in the years after that, is just asinine."

Flaherty says the union made their wage proposal on June 18, "After 12 today (noon yesterday), nine days later and with 36 hours to go, they gave us a proposal. That means they're not showing any serious intention to bargain." He says his members are ready to picket various Con Ed properties, including offices and substations. The union has also filed an "Unfair Labor Practice" charge with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming Con Ed is "bargaining in bad faith" (PDF).

However, Con Ed tells the Journal News, "We continue to negotiate in good faith with the union leadership and are working to agree on a new contract that is fair and equitable for our employees. In the interests of respecting the process, we will not discuss details of our talks." The contract is up early tomorrow; the last time Con Ed employees went on strike was in 1983.

It sounds like this strike is set to go and for some odd reason, Con Ed wants to bring it on. The offer they made is insulting, way worse than the insults thrown my way by a certain engineer at Con Ed (see my last post for the wonderful words of Bill). Con Edison's negotiators wouldn't know good faith if it slapped them repeatedly in the face. Union workers have every right to go on strike until Con Ed wakes up and treats their workers with respect.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Defending Marriage Hypocrisy From GOP

What two Republican Senators out there would be better to stand up and "defend marriage" than Larry Craig and David Vitter. Republicans are playing to their rabid base by introducing an amendment to the Constitution that would define marriage as that between a man and a woman.

Larry Craig, as you might remember from last year was caught in airport bathroom soliciting sexual activity from an undercover policeman. He has also been suspected of hitting for the other team in Washington for sometime.

Then there is David Vitter, who was outed as a Senator that frequented the D.C. Madam and had relations with at least one prostitute back in his home state of Louisiana. While Craig is still trying to fight off the charges that he had pled guilty to, Vitter was let go with little more than a slap on the wrist.

Thankfully this year the Democratic Party has the majority on the Hill, and this bill won't see the light of day. Then again, with the abominable FISA bill still afloat, you never really know these days.

John McCain Takes Credit For GI Bill He Opposed

John McCain's M.O. is to have everything anyway that suits him at any particular time. When the G.I bill proposed by Jim Webb was up for a vote, he didn't bother to show up (and he didn't support it beforehand either). Now that it has gone through, he acts as if he went along with it the whole time. Watch the sliminess in action

Scalia Helped Bush Steal 2000 Election, Now Blames Gore For It

Antonio Scalia and the word 'timidity' have never gotten along, but his statements to the UK Telegraph recently were just a bit over the top, for him that is. His decisions from the bench have been plenty bad over the years, but to claim that Gore is responsible for Scalia and four other justices overturning a Presidential election is just absurd.

From RawStory:

"Richard Nixon, when he lost to Kennedy thought that the election had been stolen in Chicago, which was very likely true with the system at the time," said Scalia. "But he did not even think about bringing a court challenge. That was his prerogative. So you know if you don't like it, don't blame it on me.

"I didn't bring it into the courts. Mr Gore brought it into the courts," he continued. "So if you don't like the courts getting involved talk to Mr Gore."

The first state court case in Florida was filed by Palm Beach County voters who felt they were disenfranchised by the infamous butterfly ballot design. It was the Bush Cheney campaign who first took the case to federal court, filing a federal lawsuit on Nov. 11, 2000. A complete timeline of the Florida fiasco is available here.

He went on to say he regretted being a part of it all and blah, blah, blah. Though how can you trust that if he doesn't even remember how it all went down? Scalia doesn't pay attention to the facts on most things, as Dean calls him, "intellectually bankrupt" along with the other four that decided for Bush and on all other matters he simply toes the radically conservative line, being as active as he can for the neo-con movement.

Republicans To Try A New "Empathetic" Approach

With the losses in all of the special elections thus far in 2008, Republicans know they are in for a whippin at the polls this November. The attacks on Democrats so far have been the same as they have for the last twenty to thirty years and voters are tired of hearing it. So something must be done to stem the Democratic tide.

From TPM:

GOP candidates on the ballot in November must show "deep empathy towards the voters" and rely on local rather than national issues, according to the report, ordered by party leaders after the loss of formerly safe seats in Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi that stunned the rank and file.[...]

While defeats in special elections in Illinois and Louisiana troubled Republicans, the loss of a Mississippi House seat on May 13 led to appointment of a six-member group to review the NRCC's performance. Key lawmakers met Thursday to review the findings, some of which were obtained by The Associated Press.

While the review said the national political environment was largely to blame for the losses, it also said Republican candidates themselves were less than optimal and their campaigns were flawed.

The GOP leadership is smart enough to see the smoke coming in from under the door, so they are going to try a new way of chopping the door down. The problem that they are (willfully) ignorant of is that the fire on the other side is what has made them wealthy and they are too short-sighted to see the benefits of trying to put it out.

Colbert Enlists Nation To Help John McCain

On the green screen that is, he desperately needs to wake up and some background effects and photoshoppery should do the trick:

Bush Administration Slows Growth Of Solar Energy

Despite George Bush's recent overtures towards clean energy, he truly does have his BFFs in the oil and gas industry closest to his heart. Heck, George was a failed oil man himself, drinking Texas Tea and what not before the days in the MLB, State House and White House. So when these pesky solar energy people come riding into town, trying to save us from ourselves, what does Bush have his Administration do?

From The Grist Mill:

BLM contemplates two-year moratorium on solar power plant construction in the West-

Oh, now they care about careful environmental assessment? Oil and gas development is spreading over the American West like a cancer, but this, this solar stuff ... it's a bridge too far!

So Congress and the feds are going to let the solar investment tax credit lapse and institute a moratorium on deployment in the best solar states -- two body blows to an nascent clean energy industry. That is some crackerjack energy policy.

For the oil and gas lobby, it is a solid energy policy plan. With prices going sky high and Americans spending more of their dollars on energy as opposed to anything else, it is a great day indeed. And if that hurts the solar energy that is trying to make a difference on our planet, well then screw em. It's the George Bush way!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Robert Novak Blames Bush For Obamacons

Bloviator-extraordinaire Robert Novak penned a column today that mentioned Barack Obama and the number of conservatives that support him, called Obamacons. Novak thinks Chuck Hagel and more actively Colin Powell will go with the Democratic nominee over John McCain. He sees the writing on the wall and knows many conservatives will not be on the side they are supposed to be rooting for.

From The Washington Post:

What is an "Obamacon?" The phrase surfaced in January to describe British conservatives entranced by Barack Obama. On March 13 the American Spectator broadened the term to cover all "conservative supporters" of the Democratic presidential candidate. Their ranks, though growing, feature few famous people. But looming on the horizon are two big potential Obamacons: Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel.

Neither Powell, first-term secretary of state for George W. Bush, nor Hagel, retiring after two terms as a U.S. senator from Nebraska, has endorsed Obama. Hagel probably never will. Powell probably will enter Obama's camp at a time of his own choosing.

The end of the article sums up his feeling on the Republicans for Obama movement. He blames the Bush White House, saying they should do some 'soul searching' for causing McCain's woes. The problem is that it wasn't only Bush that did this, it was the entire movement conservative ideology that was bound to fail, it just failed under Bush's watch. Now conservatives who have been feeling disaffected in the Republican Party are looking elsewhere.

Bushie Has Trouble Saying That We Won't Bury People Alive

These two minutes of testimony speak volumes about the Bush Administration and their views on torture:

Guns, Guns And More Guns

The Supreme Court has certainly been very busy this week handing out their judgments on various cases, from ruling on child rape to letting ExxonMobil get away with a slap on the wrist. Today, their big decision was to expand the second amendment like no one has before. The Court struck down a handgun law in Washington, D.C. that stood for more than thirty years and made the N.R.A. jump for joy (and the founding fathers, I assume, roll over in their graves).

From The Huffington Post:

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most federal firearms restrictions intact.

District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty responded with a plan to require residents of the nation's capital to register their handguns. "More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence," Fenty said.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

What Scalia and his merry band of followers forget is that Constitution is a living, breathing document and when the Second Amendment was written, we lived in a much different America. In 1791, Americans protected themselves from various threats that the government was ill-equipped for, now we have a military with a budget of over half a trillion dollars. Early Americans also hunted in greater percentages to feed their families, now most people hunt in the supermarket.

Now this doesn't mean we can't own guns, but there should be certain limits in our (hopefully) more civilized society. The fact is, having more handguns means more people will die, whether it be from random accidents, domestic disputes or whatever.

Shelly Silver Helped Cover For Rapist In His Office, Now The Victim Is Working For Paul Newell

Shelly Silver, one of the three men in the proverbial room, is a real piece of work, but we already know that. He is the master at stalling legislation in the Assembly and rules the chamber, but I never thought he would be so deep in the old boys club that he'd cover for an alleged rapist (at the time, now it is proven fact) in his own office, yet he did exactly that.

From The NY Daily News:

Crothers, 32, was a young staffer for an upstate Republican assemblyman when she brought an internal complaint in 2001 with the Assembly that she was raped by Silver's then-counsel Michael Boxley.

Crothers and her boss met directly with Silver, who she said was callously eating pretzels as she recounted her story.

Silver initially put out a statement backing Boxley, who denied the charge. An internal Assembly investigation was inconclusive, and Crothers and Boxley agreed the matter was closed. She never filed a criminal complaint.

Several years later, Boxley was led out of his Capitol office in handcuffs after another legislative aide accused him of rape.

The story is absolutely disgusting, for him to be eating fuckin' pretzels while she recounted her horrific and traumatic story should be criminal for the heartlessness of it all, not to mention (un)wittingly aiding Boxley. So what is Elizabeth doing these days? She's out to get revenge in the very best way possible.

Elizabeth Crothers has since moved to California, but she's so bent on ousting Silver that she is volunteering for Paul Newell, one of two Democrats taking on Silver in this fall's Democratic primary.

Crothers said she plans to spend more time in New York raising money and campaigning for Newell, telling her story in hopes he can pull off a primary upset. Just this week, she was part of a host committee for a Newell fund-raiser.

"I see it as the only opportunity to bring real reform to New York and to unseat one of the worst leaders in the state and quite possibly in the nation," Crothers said.

There are already plenty of reasons to get rid of Shelly Silver, but Elizabeth Crothers adds a very personal and traumatic story, hopefully to rid the Assembly of Sheldon Silver for good.

John McCain Can Add NIMBYism To His List Of Tricks

John McCain: Continuing to say one thing and then something completely opposite as long as the audience at the moment needs to hear (in McCain's mind) something they like, even if it isn't true. Now we can add NIMBYism to his YouTube problem.

Con-Ed Strike Could Be Coming This Weekend

For all the shit I give Con Ed, the great majority of it is expressly for the management. Sure the workers might have had a role in that steam pipe explosion that killed a woman and injured others last year, but the steam system shouldn't have really been there in the first place. Electric current has been around long enough for them to replace the old and dangerous system. Now the management is at it again, this time fighting with their union workers over pay....and it has gotten bad enough that thousands of utility workers will strike starting this weekend.

From The NY Daily News:

"We're miles and miles apart," said Joe Flaherty, spokesman for the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, which represents electric, gas and steam workers in all boroughs except Staten Island, as well as Westchester County.

Flaherty said Con Ed is refusing to budge on wages and medical costs, as well as a proposal that workers who retire while on workers' compensation have to repay benefits from their pensions.

"It's basically the Nancy Reagan school of negotiations - 'Just say no,'" he said. "It seems to us that they want to initiate a walkout."

Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin declined to discuss the status of the talks, but said utility managers are prepared to handle a strike.

"We plan for any contingencies - strike-related, too," he said. "More than half of our management is up from the ranks themselves."

Clendenin can talk tough to the media, but when push comes to shove he better get ready to negotiate with the UWUA. Does anyone really believe that the managers and himself can put on the gear and fix the myriad problems Con Ed has every time it starts to rain? When those severe storms hit the city (and especially up in Westchester) power goes out at the drop of a hat. Let's see what happens to the grid when 9,000 workers aren't there to get your back. Chances are there are going to be a lot of unhappy Con Ed customers...and when they hear about why it takes days instead of hours to fix the problem they'll be going after people like Clendenin and not workers that want a decent wage and good benefits.

If Con Ed can continuously ask for increased rate charges, they can pass some of it on to those that keep their decrepit system running.

Karl Rove, Master Hypocrite

Karl Rove, Fox News contributor and McCain adviser has been busy in his new roles, but that old one is still gnawing at him like a mosquito with the West Nile virus. He knows that there are plenty of people who believe that he was responsible (because its true) for helping to out Valerie Plame and break the law. With his massive ego though, he conveniently forgets about all that to criticize the NY Times for outing a different CIA agent.

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, on The O’Reilly Factor, Karl Rove slammed the New York Times for supposedly leaking the name of a CIA agent. “[T]hey’ve got a very callous view about our nation’s security and interests,” Rove charged:

ROVE: Well, I read their explanation. And basically, it sounded to me like they were saying we put his name out there because we decided we could. And I mean, they didn’t have a good explanation for it.

How ironic that Karl Rove says that the country is put “at risk” when a CIA agent’s name is exposed. A quick recap of Rove’s role in leaking undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity for political retribution:

– Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper said, “Karl Rove told me about Valerie Plame’s identity on July 11, 2003. I called him because Ambassador Wilson [Plame’s husband] was in the news that week. I didn’t know Ambassador Wilson even had a wife until I talked to Karl Rove.”

– A week prior to publishing his column which outed Plame, Robert Novak spoke with Rove. Novak brought up Plame’s role at the CIA, and Rove confirmed that Plame worked at the CIA:I heard that too,” said Rove.

In an addendum to the article, the Times explained its rationale: “Mr. Martinez had never worked under cover and…others involved in the campaign against Al Qaeda have been named in news stories and books.”

Karl truly does have selective reading habits, easily reading what he wants to in an article by ignoring the rest of the facts (that don't suit him). Talking about an agent who has already been mentioned in the press is far different from putting an agent in the press when the were covert, for purely petty political reasons, such as the agent's spouse having spoken badly about the White House a few days beforehand.

Karl, Karl, Karl.....I hope one day you get to sit in jail for a long, long time for you to think about all the crap you've pulled....or at least be prevented from spewing more crap into our lives.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lieberman Must Go!

And the sooner, the better:

FISA Situation Brightens Just A Little

Last week the House of Representatives brought a tidal wave of bad news by voting for the FISA legislation that not only gives the President unprecedented powers, but gives Bush a free pass by letting the telecommunication companies that aided and abetted his illegal spying on Americans off the hook. Plenty of Democrats voted against it, but enough voted with the Republican caucus to pass it, including many that got extra payoffs from telecom lobbying efforts. Now it heads to the Senate, and this is where we have to stand our ground and beat this bill back to the boardrooms of AT&T, Verizon and the conniving heads in the White House. The good news, the bill is most likely not going to be put to the test this month.

From RawStory:

The schedule for a FISA vote “is up in the air,” a source close to the majority leader tells Raw Story, and no decisions had been finalized Wednesday afternoon.

Senators debated the FISA bill throughout the day Wednesday, although negotiators had not brokered an agreement on how to proceed with votes on amendments. On the Senate floor, Feingold excoriated the compromise for not holding telecommunications companies accountable for their participation in the warrantless wiretapping program, despite the token court review advocates for the bill are touting as a compromise.

“No one should be fooled about the effect of this bill. Under its terms, the companies that allegedly participated in the illegal wiretapping program will walk away from these lawsuits with immunity. There is simply no question about it, and anyone who says that this bill preserves a meaningful role for the courts to play in deciding these cases is wrong,” Feingold said.

Feingold also brought up the fact that the bill is an abomination without retroactive immunity. Russ points out that the bill gives an incredible amount of power to the Presidency, something few Senators or any public official is willing to do. Senator Feingold speaks truth to power on this very important Constitutional issue and he should be commended for his actions. Keep up the fight Senator, we need all we can get to kill this bill in 2008.

Supreme Court Sides With ExxonMobil Over Valdez Spill

Anyone that tells you that politics doesn't figure into the courts doesn't know much about what is going on in politics these days. When conservative Republicans appoint ideological judges bent doing whatever they can to help big business no matter how large the fuck up, there is a serious problem going on. The Court itself hangs on a balance now and could get worse if McCain is elected. With another Republican in the White House, it will be easier to see more awful decisions like this from now on.

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the record $2.5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp had been ordered to pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the nation's worst tanker spill.

By a 5-3 vote, the high court ruled that the punitive damages award should be slashed -- limited by the circumstances of the case to an amount equal to the total relevant compensatory damages of $507.5 million.

The justices overturned a ruling by a U.S. Court of Appeals that had awarded the record punitive damages to about 32,000 commercial fishermen, Alaska natives, property owners and others harmed by the nation's worst tanker spill.

In the majority opinion, Justice David Souter concluded the $2.5 billion in punitive damages was excessive under federal maritime law, and should be cut to the amount of actual harm.

The only harm here was done by Exxon all those years ago and the Court's decision today. Now ExxonMobil makes $2.5 billion in a matter of days, they could have easily paid the amount of damages stipulated in the lawsuit. The Supreme Court had no business taking up this case, it should have been left to the lower court. For Souter to say that there shouldn't be punitive damages is absurd. Those damages are awarded in cases that span the legal spectrum and to think that fisherman and those that live along the coast weren't traumatized by the man-made ecological disaster is preposterous.

Corporate America is chomping at the bit to see McCain in office (and nominating judges), so they can get away with whatever they see fit in order to profit at everyone else's expense.

Neil Young Debuts "Deja Vu" In July

The album came out long ago, but their message today is just as relevant as when they spoke out against the Vietnam War. We have a President that breaks the law for his own whims and David Crosby, Steven Stiles, Graham Nash and Neil Young aren't afraid to confront him on it. Check out the trailer:

Dave Chappelle Dives Into Politics For Kevin Powell

Comic Dave Chappelle is not one to abstain from talking about politics, he's even played the President before on film. Despite the copious amount of politics he has espoused from the stage, he has never actually dipped his feet in the political pool....until now. It isn't a Barack Obama thing, but a Kevin Powell thing.

From The Observer:

Dave Chappelle is doing a fund-raiser for former MTV Real World star Kevin Powell, who challenging Congressman Ed Towns in Brooklyn's 10th district.

Any event featuring Chappelle is bound to get a fair amount of attention, since he has stayed out of politics until now.

Powell's opponent, the 13-term incumbent Towns, has opted for a lower profile than his challenger, avoiding nearly all campaign events in 2006, and so far again this year.

Powell went on from The Real World (first season!) to a career writing about hip-hop and culture for publications like Vibe.

The event will be held two weeks from today, July 9th at Eugene on 24th St. between 6th Ave and Broadway. Tickets to event go from $100 to the max of $2300. So if you want to see history in the making, come out in two weeks to see Chappelle back Kevin Powell for his challenge to the crony currently sitting in the 10th Congressional District.

Bruno Tried To 'Deal' With FBI, FBI Seizes Documents Instead

Apparently stepping down from office isn't good enough for the FBI and their case against Joe Bruno. While the investigation was not the reason he is leaving Albany, he still had his lawyer plead with the Federal Bureau of Investigations to make the case go away. Bruno may think that everyone is susceptible to a deal in Albany, but not when it comes to his situation and the FBI.

From The Gothamist:

While State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has denied his surprising decision not to seek re-election had anything to do with the FBI's investigation into his finances, the FBI hauled away a "massive volume" of Bruno's records, dating back to 1995. The Post says the FBI seized the documents hours before Bruno's Monday afternoon announcement.

In 2006, Bruno announced that he was under investigation, for various deals involving land, racehorses, and labor unions. Interestingly, the Daily News reports that Bruno's lawyer contacted the FBI to see if his stepping-down "would help end" the FBI probe. But the FBI did not make a deal. And the Times Union says the documents were requested months ago, but the Senate "delayed responding to the request."

Even with this week's events, I still do not believe that the FBI's investigation has anything to do with his decision to not run for re-election. Trying to snatch a deal from the FBI is merely a bonus while the main issue is that the Senate is poised to switch to the Democrats in the Senate, ending the lucrative practices Bruno has been involved with for years, incidentally the reason why the FBI has been on his case. The thing is, Bruno is a smart guy and has alluded authorities for nearly three years. Making the authorities' spotlight go away would be nice, but the real deal is the loss of power, and in Albany, that is all that matters.

Bush Broke The Law At DoJ....Will Something Be Done, Does Anyone Care?

Republicans are trying to minimize this, but now we have definitive proof that the Bush Administration politicized the Department of Justice from top to bottom. What they did was a violation of the laws of country and this needs to be pursued all the way from investigations to jail time for those guilty of crimes. But, since this is 2008 and the climate in Washington defers to the all-mighty King Executive authority. I'm as worked up as Dan, but I'm not too excited about our chances of actual justice.

Shame On Spineless, Greedy Telco Flippin' Dems

When looking at the numbers, it turns out that Democrats in the House that voted for the bill with retroactive immunity received thousands more in donations from the telecommunications industry than others. Honestly I expect more from our Democratic caucus, but this is exactly why we need to get more Democrats, then better Democrats. The 94 who voted with the Republicans for these companies to escape justice along with the architects at the Bush Administration (George included) must be held accountable for their actions...and in time will find plenty of primary challenges from Democrats ready to uphold the Constitution before their exorbitant bank accounts.

From Politico:

House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last week’s FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by
In March, the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity. But last week, 94 Democrats who supported the March amendment voted to support the compromise FISA legislation, which includes a provision that could let telecom companies that cooperated with the government’s warrantless electronic surveillance off the hook. The 94 Democrats who changed their positions received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from January, 2005, to March, 2008, according to the analysis by MAPLight, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the connection between campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.

How sad is that a measly $8,400 can steer so many elected officials so far off course? It may be a sizable chunk for a Congressional race, but if you could show 840 people that you care about the Constitution, they'd throw you ten bucks faster than you can bend over for AT&T or Verizon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Feingold And Dodd Vow To FISAbuster

Nothing was more deplorable (this month) for the Democrats than to let FISA go through the House with retroactive immunity. Pelosi, Hoyer and dozens of others forgot about their duty to their constituents and the Constitution and gave a free pass to the telecommunication companies that violated the law and let George Bush off the hook for masterminding these crimes against America. Moreover, the bill obliterates the Fourth Amendment and gives the government unprecedented power to legally spy on citizens of a supposedly free country.

Now the bill goes to the Senate and our chances aren't that great. Barack Obama did the politically centrist thing and endorsed the House bill, so counting on him to put an end to this isn't likely. However, there are at least two good men in the chamber that do care, and they are ready to filibuster this thing straight into the next Congress and hopefully make it gone for good.

From RawStory:

In a last-ditch attempt to fix a surveillance bill critics say would essentially legalize President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, Sens. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) have promised to filibuster the bill as long as it offers telecommunications companies retroactive immunity.

“This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans,” the senators said in a joint statement Tuesday.

“If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans’ civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation.”

Filibustering this bill shouldn't be too hard as long as the members remain committed. There isn't much time before the July 4th recess and once the Senate gets back there is a lot of bills to get in order. If this has the possibility of tying up the Senate for weeks, Reid might just put the bill off for good, at least for the 110th Congress. They key is to push the bill off this year and then do it right once Obama is President next year.

McCain: Bhutto's Death Can Help Me

CNN highlighted his comments from the primary season earlier today:

Judge Hints At Congress To Arrest Bushies

Our Congress has been absolutely horrific this session (and the last few as well) in playing its role as a co-equal branch of government. In the Constitution, it states that Congress is allowed to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, but Democratic leaders have been hesitant about doing so when the White House skirts the law and throws roadblocks up to discovering the truth of their crimes. Instead of going for the throat, the Dem majority has only mustered limited effort and tries to shield itself from criticism (from the lawbreakers) by going to a judge to make Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, among others, testify to Congress. Well the judge hasn't ruled yet, but his statement thus far speaks volumes.

From TPM:

In a motion hearing in federal court today, U.S. District Judge John Bates questioned why Congress didn't simply arrest former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten after both refused to respond to subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary Committee:

Congress has the authority to hold someone in contempt, U.S. District Judge John Bates said. Did it really need to go to court? House counsel Irvin Nathan said it did.

The hearing is the latest in an ongoing battle between Congress and the White House, to have senior aides testify about the U.S. attorney firings.

The Bushies are doing whatever they can to wait out the end of the term so they can hopefully fly under the radar. Sternly written letters may be threatening the first time, but after Congress writes dozens of them, no one seems to care. Now if they use actual force and arrest these crooks (alleged crooks of course) then that could actually do something. Claiming Executive Privilege is a bullshit maneuver and everyone knows it, Congress is just too cowardly to do anything about it.

Brownback Does Flips For McCain

The former Presidential candidate and now Vice-Presidential hopeful is playing politics with his constituents because ultimately, pleasing John McCain comes before the Kansans he represents. Yesterday he was passionately against moving the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to Ft. Leavenworth, perhaps to uphold the sanctity of Jayhawks or something along those lines. But because McCain is for the same thing, Brownback dutifully performs for the Republican nominee.

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released a report advocating closing Guantanamo and relocating remaining detainees to the “Supermax” prison in Colorado or to the U.S. Military Detention Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.

Soon after, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) sent out a press release attacking the report, calling it “misleading and inaccurate.” “Fort Leavenworth has neither the space nor the security arrangements to handle detainees from Guantanamo Bay,” he said, criticizing advocates of this position:

I am disappointed that policy makers and analysts continue to talk about Fort Leavenworth as a place to house detainees without visiting the facility. In person visits will confirm why the Disciplinary Barracks do not meet the security requirements necessary to perform this mission, even if Guantanamo Bay were to close.

But an outspoken advocate of relocating Guantanamo detainees to Ft. Leavenworth is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). In his statement, Brownback — who says he would be “honored” to be McCain’s vice president — left out any mention of McCain’s stance on the issue. McCain, in fact, has long supported relocating all Gitmo detainees to Ft. Leavenworth:

– Q: How would you fight the War on Terror differently than it’s being fought now?
McCAIN: I would probably announce the closing of Guantanamo Bay. I would move those detainees to Fort Leavenworth. I would announce we will not torture anyone. [4/29/07]

– McCAIN: I would immediately close Guantanamo Bay, move all the prisoners to Fort Leavenworth and truly expedite the judicial proceedings in their cases. [3/18/07]

But after McCain made these statements, Brownback’s office did not level similar attacks at him. In April, Brownback wrote an op-ed titled, “Don’t put detainees at Ft. Leavenworth” criticizing an article stating Ft. Leavenworth “could work” for detainees. “If the goal is improving America’s security, Ft. Leavenworth is not the solution,” he said. Not surprisingly, Brownback didn’t mention McCain in that op-ed either.

Nothing about this is surprising. Senator Brownback, along with John McCain have no principles to their names except for making sure they try and stay in office, in power and do whatever they can to obtain more power. Covering for McCain on this issue might not get him a spot on the ticket, but it definitely counts as brownie points for Senator Sam.

Was Jesus A Republican?

Check out this interesting, sometimes loud and passionate debate between Jerry Newcombe and Cenk Uyugr around Jerry's book that argues that Jesus might have voted Republican.

$2 Gas By August?

On a sultry late June day in 2008, the price for a gallon of gas is to be found in the range of $4-$5 and even more for Diesel. Prices have risen astronomically in the last year to two and on a steady uptick since the beginning of George Bush's ascent to the White House. Individuals and government agencies alike have had to drastically reconfigure their budgets due to the cost of fuel. Well there is an answer to the mess, but only if Congress has the guts to do something about the main reason behind the exponential rise, oil speculators.

From MarketWatch:

Testifying to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management said that the price of oil would quickly drop closer to its marginal cost of around $65 to $75 a barrel, about half the current $135.

Fadel Gheit of Oppenheimer & Co., Edward Krapels of Energy Security Analysis and Roger Diwan of PFC Energy Consultants agreed with Masters' assessment at a hearing on proposed legislation to limit speculation in futures markets.

Krapels said that it wouldn't even take 30 days to drive prices lower, as fund managers quickly liquidated their positions in futures markets.

"Record oil prices are inflated by speculation and not justified by market fundamentals," according to Gheit. "Based on supply and demand fundamentals, crude-oil prices should not be above $60 per barrel."

Sure, there was opposition to this view, but what would you expect from the majority of speculators? Why would you give up a good thing...and no, morality does not figure into the minds of brute capitalists. It just doesn't happen, the competition is too fierce. The long-term rise in oil has been steadily going up and $60 a barrel is far more reasonable and makes sense for where the price should be. Prices will rise as demand increases and the supplies begin to taper off, but the volatility is market-based and not due to real-world conditions in oil fields and worldwide demand.

Congressman Dingell sounded willing to consider capping the speculators and putting an end to their heartless practices in the oil market. If a bill could get out of committee, onto the floor and passed in both Houses, the President could be pressured to act before the August recess. Then again, pigs may fly and the Earth could spin the other way, but there is no harm in mentioning that there is another way.

City Council Stands Up Against Greedy Hedge Funds

The big, overriding problem in our country is that while the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. The war is on the list as well, but that too can be connected to the astronomical gap in wealth between the top and bottom classes in our society. One instrument that has been increasing the trend are hedge funds and those that run them. These people invest in good causes (sometimes) but always make obscene amounts of money. This being New York, there are plenty of these people and at least some in our government want to do something about it, like our City Council.

From The Gothamist:

The NY Sun reports 26 out of the 51 City Council members support an Assembly bill that would require hedge fund and private equity managers to pay more in taxes.

The City Council is looking for ways to raise money (like implementing a hotel room tax) rather than slashing programs, noting, "With New York City facing tight budget projections in the years to come, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure everyone is paying their fair share of the tax burden before we ask those who depend on social services and public investments to suffer in the form of budget cuts to schools, mass transit, or health care."

While Governor Paterson and the Legislature would need to sign off on such a tax, this also flies in the face of Mayor Bloomberg's "don't tax the rich" stance. The Mayor believes if the "best and brightest" are taxed--especially as we're competing with other global cities for their talents--they will flee. And the City Council members and others who oppose this kind of a tax say the unincorporated business tax should be eliminated completely and this is not the time to introduce a tax, given the woes of Wall Street.

Okay so its really a razor thin majority that wants to do it, but that isn't bad considering that Bloomberg tries to strong-arm council members and many members can benefit from the generosity of hedge fund managers. Still, these are desperate budgetary times and we need to find the money to keep our city humming. We need to do that without putting even more of a burden on the backs of those that carry so much weight already.

Of course it isn't even up to the Council, this is an Assembly bill and there is no way this will pass the State Senate (this year or next) even if we do get the majority back this November. Taxing the rich is always an uphill battle because the rich have so much control as it is.

Another Reason To Fire Charlie Black

Cenk is rightfully outraged about Charlie Black's latest comments that say a terrorist attack would be good for McCain's campaign. While he points out the double standard aspect (imagine if Obama said that?) the real issue is that comments like this aren't meant to be accurate or p.c. The thing is, McCain must campaign with fear to win and this is how it gets done.

Aubertine Exonerates Paterson

Liz pointed out yesterday that something was amiss about the whole Paterson trying to appoint Aubertine to the NYPA thing. Unfortunately I fell for it hook, line and sinker. The bait was enticing though, Senator Aubertine came out with a press release stating that he was declining a job with the NYPA that would have tripled his salary to stay loyal to his constituents in the 48th District. Well now Aubertine seems to backtrack, but just a little bit.

From The Daily Politcs:

Sen. Darrel Aubertine, whose NYPA job offer uproar got lost in the Sen. Joe Bruno-retirement shuffle, just issued the folowing statement:

"If there was a misunderstanding, then there was a misunderstanding. The Governor is a friend and ally and someone that I've worked with extensively on important energy issues."

"What's important right now is that we move on and not let this story distract from the important work we need to do before the end of session. We need to provide real property tax relief to working families across the state and reform and reauthorize IDA's so we can get them creating jobs."

"Above all, we need to do the work people elected us to do. I'm proud to serve the people of the Central and Northern New York and that includes working with my colleagues in the Legislature and the Governor to accomplish as much as we can before the end of session."

Senate Democrat sources insisted that the governor's chief of staff, Charles O'Byrne, called Aubertine on his cell phone last Tuesday while he was in session and then subsequently met with him on the second floor later that day and offered him the NYPA job.

The governor's office couldn't confirm the meeting to CapConf, which also reported that Aubertine and some of his fellow Democrats had a meeting with O'Byrne earlier today that got rather heated.

Hmm, that certainly does sound like a big misunderstanding. Perhaps he was offering the job at a date to be determined? Or maybe he wanted to give him the chance to have input over the next head of the NYPA? All of this seems odd, but the important thing is that at the end of the day, Aubertine is sticking around....and thankfully Joe Bruno isn't.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Joe Bruno Gives Up, Not Seeking Re-Election

Late-breaking news out of Albany is that Joe Bruno is not going to seek re-election to the New York State Senate. Joe has been there for more than three decades, but now the Majority Leader is calling it quits. Being the last day of the legislative session, he picked a decisive time to leave, with just enough time for a Republican candidate to run out and start collecting petition signatures. The question is, why is he dropping out now? Is the reason a legal situation or a political one....and don't try and tell me he wants to spend more time with his family, that one is wayyyy too played out.

Since the whole FBI situation has seemed to stall for some time now, the general mood that the State Senate will flip to the Democratic Party is the likely reason. Joe Bruno is so powerful in Albany because he controls the State Senate, care of the Republican majority. Now that the Democrats are only two seats away and have several strong challenges going for this election cycle, the time might be right for this septuagenarian to call it a day and a political career. If renovations for the Minority caucus room mean anything, Republicans really do sense that their time of Senatorial power is at an end.

So now Joe can ride off into the sunset this fall (if the FBI doesn't catch up to him of course) and perhaps a few other elderly Republicans might follow him as well. This house of cards might truly fall and fall fast. Just one more reason for me to look forward to November.

Obama Attacks McCain For Being Against Equal Pay For Women

Women are going strongly for Obama, and many don't even know that McCain is actually anti-women's issues, such as legislating equal pay for women. To McCain and his Republican brethren, he trusts the market to do that instead of the's that working out John?

Army Wants To Clean Up Contracting, White House Tells Them Not To

With the army facing ridiculous contracting budgets, higher-ups in the force decided that something had to be done to stop the financial bleeding of the military branch. Coming up with ideas to stop the no-bid contracts, fraud, waste and organizational structure that has been depriving the troops sounds like a plan. Though when it comes to waste, the White House is the expert on making sure it doesn't stop, so they forced the Army to not do anything.

From The Huffington Post:

The Office of Management and Budget, President Bush's administrative arm, has shot down a service plan to add five active-duty generals who would oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance.

The boost in brass was a key recommendation from a blue-ribbon panel that last fall criticized the Army for contracting failures that undermined the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, wasted U.S. tax dollars, and sparked dozens of procurement fraud investigations.

As the Army's contracting budget ballooned _ from $46 billion in 2002 to $112 billion in 2007 _ it had too few experienced people negotiating and buying equipment and supplies, according to the panel. Worse still, there wasn't a single Army general in a job with contracting responsibilities. That meant the profession had little clout at a critical time.

An approximate 200% increase in costs over five years is astronomical and the army is right to do something about it. Unfortunately the OMB rejected their proposal without even giving a reason. Perhaps they might find something not quite legit? Uncovering no-bid contracts and what prompted them maybe? Though honestly at this point they might as well let it be unearthed, because no one is courageous enough to prosecute anyone in the Administration for all the high crimes we know about already. Everybody knows Congress has given up their duty and right to be a co-equal branch, so why not just let it all hang out.

Don Imus Is Still A Racist

In what must be shocking news to Citadel and ABC Radio that carries the "new and improved" Don Imus, the tainted radio host made another racially charged comment on his new show today. Of course this is no surprise to everyone outside of those radio boardrooms who do not profit off of Don Imus and those that enable him with ratings. The fact is, this wasn't about it if he would make another comment, it was just a matter of time.

From The Politico:

On “Imus in the Morning” Monday, the controversial radio host Don Imus — who was fired last year for making racist and sexist remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team — made a racially freighted comment about another African-American athlete.

During the show, conversation turned to a story about how suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones now wants to drop his well-known nickname. In the course of the segment, Imus is told that Jones has “been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.”

Imus asks: “What color is he?”

“He’s African-American,” the host is informed by one of his on-air sidekicks.

“Well, there you go,” Imus said. “Now we know.”

What is it with Imus and minority athletes? Did he get picked last for teams during recess in elementary school? Nah, he just prefers to remain willfully ignorant about race in America and decides to stir the pot to get ratings, not caring about the outcome. If Imus wanted to address race and crime in this country with substance, he could address roots of the problem, not to make jokes at others' expense. Like CBS, it is time for Citadel and ABC to rid themselves of this menace and other radio stations should pay attention as well.

What Will Obama Do For Our Economic Crisis?

One of the Republicans largest talking points for years was that the Democrats had no ideas and that they had all the ideas. Well since their ideas of raping the government didn't work out so well, now they have nothing. Meanwhile, the party with the smartest plan through and through is being returned to prominence again, and Barack Obama is ready to lead with a comprehensive plan that will set us on the right track after being derailed by neo-cons for so long.

Energy Self-Sufficient Households Are A Reality

Can you live in an American house, drive an American car yet not contribute one single gram of carbon-based pollution into the atmosphere. Most people would automatically answer no, but not Mike Strizki of Central New Jersey. His home is completely self-sufficient and does not require outside power or gasoline for his car, the Earth does it all for him, for a "small" set-up fee.

From Scientific American:

EAST AMWELL, N.J.—Mike Strizki has not paid an electric, oil or gas bill—nor has he spent a nickel to fill up his Mercury Sable—in nearly two years. Instead, the 51-year-old civil engineer makes all the fuel he needs using a system he built in the capacious garage of his home, which employs photovoltaic (PV) panels to turn sunlight into electricity that is harnessed in turn to extract hydrogen from tap water.

Although the device cost $500,000 to construct, and it is unlikely it will ever pay off financially (even with today's skyrocketing oil and gas prices), the civil engineer says it is priceless in terms of what it does buy: freedom from ever paying another heating or electric bill, not to mention keeping a lid on pollution, because water is its only by-product.

"The ability to make your own fuel is priceless," says the man known as "Mr. Gadget" to his friends. He boasts a collection of hydrogen-powered and electric vehicles, including a hydrogen-run lawn mower and car (the Sable, which he redesigned and named the "Genesis") as well as an electric racing boat, and even an electric motorcycle. "All the technology is off-the-shelf. All I'm doing is putting them together."

He paid $100,000 coupled with $400,000 in various grant money. Now he pays nothing for gas, electric and anything that is needed to power all of his appliances, gadgets and whatever device that requires fuel. Zero pollution is fantastic, but who can afford such a heavy price tag? The public utility commissions of America aren't going to grant everyone nearly half a million dollars. However, if our national government could divert a fraction of the money going to death and destruction in Iraq and move it to building industry that can increase the supply of this technology, the price of self-sufficiency would look a lot more affordable.

Trying To Oust Aubertine? WTF Paterson?

David Paterson came into the Governor's office with high hopes from the progressive Democratic community. Although he may not be 'progressive,' he certainly had testified towards supporting many wonderful things, such as campaign and ethics reform. He failed us on that this year but at least he's still a Democrat right? Well one has to wonder what his motivation was in offering Senator Aubertine a job when our party is fighting so hard to win back the majority in the Senate after decades of Republican rule.

From Capitol Confidential:

In the brewing fight for the Senate majority between the Republicans and Democrats, Paterson has pulled one out of the Spitzer playbook - picking off a Senator with a plum appointed position.

But the attempt didn’t benefit the side you expect from the former Senate Minority Leader. At the urging of Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Paterson offered the job to Democratic Sen. Darrel Aubertine, according to sources. Aubertine declined the offer.

Aubertine is the Senate Democrats’ most vulnerable marginal, having been elected only 4 months ago in a costly special election in an overwhelmingly Republican Senate district. (see stats below).

A Watertown Daily Times story ran Saturday, reporting that Aubertine was offered the chairmanship of the New York Power Authority, which would have doubled his current Senate salary of $79,500.

Later that same day, Aubertine released a statement confirming the report, saying, in part:

”I was offered the opportunity to serve as NYPA chairman last week,” Sen. Aubertine said. “I’m certainly very, very flattered to not only have been considered, but to have been offered the position. After discussions with my family and friends, my decision was to keep my commitment to the people of the 48th Senate District.”

Well I'm glad at least one politician has the best interest of the 48th District and our party at heart. I'm not too sure about Governor Paterson though. Now Paterson's record indicates he is indeed a Democrat, so what gives? What does Joe Bruno have over him to make him try and offer Aubertine a position that would be to the New York Democratic Party's detriment? He may have reminded us of Spitzer, but at least Spitzer played dirty for our benefit, not Joe Bruno's.

George Carlin, You Will Be Missed

There has never been a comic quite like George Carlin. He was blunt, honest and spoke truth to power every time he got up to the microphone. From the 1970s to 2008, he made people laugh by bringing up every uncomfortable thing in American society. Puritanism was his enemy as much as stupidity (one in the same I suppose) and intelligence and action his friend. He knew the system we live in and wasn't afraid to tell us about the intricate world around us, having us in stitches all the way. I for one will certainly miss you and your brilliant comedic genius.

Bushie Ambassador Broke The Law For McCain

For some reason, a slew of Republicans have either had no common sense training, or more specifically, never heard of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act was instituted to protect our American democracy from cronyism and corruption but apparently George Bush and now John McCain are having none of that. Their leadership has inspired people like David Wilkins to break the law to raise as much money for their party as possible.

From The Washington Post:

A Canadian newspaper reported Thursday that Friday's scheduled $100-a-plate luncheon speech by Sen. John McCain in Ottowa was organized in part by U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins, a former South Carolina lawmaker whom President Bush appointed in 2005.

Democrats pointed out the article late Thursday night, and alleged that Wilkins's actions could be construed as a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits many kinds of political activities by government employees.

The article in the Edmonton Sun, and an earlier one in the Globe and Mail, says that Wilkins contacted Thomas d'Aquino, the president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, to help set up what they described as a fundraiser before McCain's visit. McCain is scheduled to give a speech at the the Chateau Laurier Hotel and to meet with several Canadian officials.

According to the Sun: "Wilkins had been contacted by the McCain campaign about a Canadian visit, and the ambassador wanted to know if some of d'Aquino's group of corporate chief executives might be interested in meeting the Republican presidential candidate. Almost instantly, d'Aquino jumped at the opportunity."

The Hatch Act circumscribes political activity for government employees. According to the American Foreign Service Association Web site, the State Department's ethics office prohibits fundraising activities for its presidential appointees.

Perhaps Wilkins forgot to take his "appointee" hat off for the fundraiser, or more aptly he forgot to cover up his actions and he got caught. It's a real shame that the event was only for $100 a plate (supposedly just to defer costs of the luncheon) but a fundraiser is a fundraiser and now we have a breach of the Hatch Act. Now Wilkins has to go down....that is if anyone still respects the rule of law around here anymore.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Frank Powers Passed Away Today

Sad news to report from Staten Island, presumptive Republican nominee for the 13th Congressional District of New York died of a heart attack today, he was 68. It is a terrible tragedy for the Powers family and I give them my whole-hearted sympathies and prayers. It is hard to imagine in 2008, but there are some things that are above politics, despite some sick minds out there. Of course this news also brings political complications with it, as Staten Island GOP members have mentioned already.

From The Daily Politics:

GOP and law enforcement sources confirmed Powers, 68, a retired Wall Street executive and MTA board member, died at his Annfield Court home on Staten Island.

"We're back to square one in terms of finding a candidate," said one obviously shaken Staten Island Republican. "You go from the bizarre to the surreal around here."[...]

News raced through political circles Sunday, causing concern and dismay among local Republicans, many of whom are still reeling from the drunk driving arrest and out-of-wedlock child revelation that caused Republican Rep. Vito Fossella to decline to seek another term this fall.

"I think we need to back to the well and revisit everybody we considered," said Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton. "Some time has gone by since all those people said they weren't interested."

That list includes: Sen. Andrew Lanza, Councilman James Oddo, Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan and Paul Atanasio, an enrolled Conservative whom Eaton's organization first endorsed before following the Staten Island GOP's lead and backing Powers in the interest of party unity.

It is a sad day for the Powers' family, but a continuous struggle for the GOP down in Staten Island and the southern parts of Brooklyn.

Breaking News: Iranians Can Bake!!

George Bush might declare war over this alone, baking cookies is like screaming "Jihad!" in a crowded theater these days:

STFU Charlie Gibson!

The dynamic duo of the traditional media are back together again to wreak havoc on truth, objectivity and common sense. Yes, you may remember them from such follies as the ABC Presidential debate, where Gotcha! journalism trumped substantive questions and issues that people actually care about in their day to day lives. Now that Hillary Clinton has bowed out but the McCain-Obama debates are still far away, the two morons need something to talk about it, and boy is this 'unfair.'

From Crooks and Liars:

CHARLES GIBSON: Barack Obama announced today that he and Hillary Clinton will campaign together next Friday, their first joint appearance since he secured the nomination. The announcement comes a day after Obama said he is not going to take public campaign financing, a decision which has drawn a great deal of criticism, and our chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, is joining us again to talk about this.

By opting out of the public financing system, George, he could have, depending on how much he raises, two times, three times, four times as much money as John McCain. What’s he going to do with all that money?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we’re already starting to see what he intends to do with this kind of money. Just today, just yesterday in fact, Barack Obama bought his first general election ads. I’m going to put up a map showing the states in which he’s bought those ads: 18 states overall, Charlie 14 of those 18 states are states won by George Bush in 2004. If he’s able to continue to raise money over the Internet, as he expects to over these next several months, it is conceivable that Senator Obama will be able to campaign and advertise in Republican states right up to election day.

GIBSON: George, I’ve heard a lot of political analysis today about his decision, but let me ask you a question about basic fairness. People in this country like to believe that people play on a level playing field and that a campaign will be about ideas and personality. If you start with that much more money, is it basically fair?

Fair? Fair?!? Charlie, I'll tell you whats fair. Having journalists that objectively look at the facts of the campaign would be good for starters, but you and George are clearly not cut out for that type of journalism. If you would have discussed why Obama has so much more money (3 million donations from 1.5 million donors averaging $91) then maybe that would have been a little bit fair, but you can't even begin to comprehend fair.

Why not just admit that you don't care about issues that concern people who makes less than $200,000 dollars and that horserace politics for the sake of ratings is sacrosanct, then just STFU, thanks!