Saturday, July 05, 2008

Norm Coleman's Wife Loves To Blo And Go

It being a somewhat slow news period around the fourth of July, the Washington Post picked up a story about Senator's wife and inventor Laurie Coleman. Of course she is the spouse of Norm Coleman, freshman Senator from Minnesota running for re-election against comedian and radio host Al Franken. If Franken didn't have enough material for his challenging bid already, Norm's wife added another bit to his repertoire.

From The Washington Post:

Laurie Coleman, wife of Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, has invented a tool for hands-free hair drying called the "Blo & Go."

Anyone who has ever tried to style his or her hair by wielding a blow-dryer in one hand and a brush in the other knows that it can be an exasperating juggling act. The challenge of an at-home blowout is what inspired Coleman to invent the Blo & Go, a hair-dryer holster.[...]

Against the backdrop of this kind of marketing savvy, it is hard to believe that the name Blo & Go was not chosen to, at the very least, amuse. This, after all, is a world in which the term "wide stance" churns up easy chuckles.

Coleman's voice registers shock -- and dismay-- that anyone would make such a connection. "I didn't think of that," she says. And then she goes further to point out that the name wasn't even her idea. It came out of a committee. It was all in the brainstorming, during which "Freedom Styler" was rejected. And so it went: You get your hair blown out. You need a blowout. You get blown . . . out. And then you go. Bingo: "Blo & Go!"

Coleman's portable little device doesn't grip the nozzle of the blow-dryer; instead, it cradles the handle. It holds by suction to any flat surface such as a mirror. "I needed something of great quality that was really going to stay up," she says. "The whole key to this is the suction."

As you can see, the humor just writes itself. Though I have to admit, the product sounds like it can help millions who blow dry their hair.

McCain Wants To Gamble With North Carolina's Coast

These stunts that people like McCrory and McCain like to pull to show they care about the oil crisis is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Trying to pull oil out of the coastline is a ridiculous and costly (not to mention unseemly) move that will most likely do more harm than good...and that "good" wouldn't materialize for years and years, doing nothing for the gas crisis that America is suffering now.

The only true way to lighten the burden on people's pocketbooks is to work to make our economy dependent on green energy like wind and solar power, not oil, not natural gas, not coal and certainly not nuclear. Our planet can give us more than enough renewable energy without having to risk our lives and our atmosphere to make a few people extremely wealthy.

Finally! A Lawsuit Meant To Expose Big Oil And Climate Change

For a long time now we've known about the dangers of our oil addiction but have not done nearly enough to make a change. People have talked....and slowly acted to achieve a greener lifestyle but only now with high gas prices are Americans taking real notice. Well the oil companies certainly play a sinister role in all of this, determined to tell everyone that what they do isn't all that bad and sure, the weather is warmer but it isn't too bad and even if it is, it isn't their fault. Well now there is a lawsuit being put together to fight that deception.

From Democracy Now:

Attorney Stephen Susman helped file a groundbreaking lawsuit earlier this year on behalf of 400 Inupiat villagers in the Alaskan town of Kivalina who are being forced to relocate because of flooding caused by global warming. The suit accuses twenty oil, gas and electric companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Peabody, of being responsible for emitting millions of tons of greenhouse gases causing the Arctic ice to melt.

"Well, this lawsuit was—in these cases, you need to find the right plaintiff. This was the perfect plaintiff, because it was a village that has—a Native village that has standing under federal law to bring a lawsuit. This is not a class action. The problem with all the tobacco cases, initially, was that they had to be brought as class actions. Individuals’ injuries were too different to be asserted in a class action, so none of the tobacco cases were certified for class treatment. They became successful when the lawyers figured out a way to represent the states, and they didn’t have to be class action, so the state was the perfect plaintiff seeking Medicaid reimbursement. Here, we have a perfect plaintiff: they have federal law standing to sue for injuries to their village, because they’re a Native tribe—it does not have to be a class action—and they have sustained the most direct kind of injury and of interest from global warming."

"An increase in the ambient temperatures in the Arctic prevents the sea ice from forming on the seaward side of this six-mile-long barrier island. And as a result, the harsh storms during the fall and winter wash over the island and are about to wash it away. So there is a direct consequence of the increase in temperatures. You know, you can think of other harms from global warming that are more indirect, like damages from storms. Kivalina was one of those, where, you know, well, the storms—the global warming warms the Gulf Stream, the Gulf Stream creates more severe weather, where the causation is more tenuous. Here, it was direct, people directly injured. The Corps of Engineers says that it will cost between $100 million and $300 million to relocate them to the mainland, which has to be done. And so, they were the perfect client."

It is fantastic news that there can be legal action on this subject. The lives of billions of people are effected by climate change all the time, but only up there in Arctic can a direct correlation be seen. A decision favoring these poor people would be tremendous in the legal world and for all victims of the oil industry.

Some In GOP Want Bush To Stay Away From Convention

Although some Republicans may say that there is no problem distinguishing John McCain from George Bush, the reality of the matter makes for a very tricky situation. Party leaders worry about being seen as supporting a third term for George Bush and the specifics of the upcoming convention in Minnesota are very, very important. It is so essential to pull it off just right, that some do not even want Bush to be seen (let alone heard) at the big event at all.

From The NY Times:

This year, of course, Mr. McCain is trying to escape from Mr. Bush’s shadow. Most Republicans say Mr. Bush should play whatever role Mr. McCain wants him to. Some, like Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, simply wish Mr. Bush would keep out of it, though few would say so openly.

“I don’t think there are a lot of people who want to see him at the convention,” said Mr. Rohrabacher, who is especially irked with Mr. Bush for his stance on immigration. He said the president “should stay home from the Republican convention, and everybody would be better off.”

But others, like Rob Portman, a former congressman and budget director for Mr. Bush, say Mr. McCain would be unwise to put too much distance between himself and the sitting president. “The president’s approval rating among Republicans’ base voters who are needed for a successful McCain campaign is relatively high,” Mr. Portman said.

Despite intra-party differences, one thing is for sure, there will definitely not be anymore embraces of the two Republican icons. As for the divide in opinion between those like Rohrabacher and Portman, both know that George Bush is a problem for their brand, since he has been the official banner holder for the last eight years. The question is, do you try to earn the respect of a small minority or look to convince a larger minority?

Of course appearances are important and especially in St. Paul when voters really begin to pay attention, but the real worry for the GOP is if those voters look at the candidate's policy decisions and see that John McCain, despite any theatrics, is just more of the same from the last eight years.

Friday, July 04, 2008

TPM Calls Out BMW Direct For Boondoggling Donors

This is what you get when right-wingers don't pay attention to where their campaign donations go to:

Bush Interrupted

George Bush claimed that the nation is warming to him again because the animosity of the crowds have simmered down lately. However, there was quite an anomaly in Bush's observations, because the crowd at Monticello to hear him speak could barely make out what he said over all the protesting.

From RawStory:

According to news accounts, "shouts from protesters were heard during Bush's remarks," while a transcript notes repeated occurrences all through the speech of "Audience disturbance," "Audience interruption," and "Audience interruption continues."

"Protesters made it hard to hear President Bush Friday," Fox News reported.

According to Virginia's News Leader, "Lee Catlin, community relations director for the Albemarle County, said six protesters were asked to leave the ceremony," but none were arrested.

The paper reported, "A Monticello spokesperson said that protesters were allowed to express their views unless they blocked views or passageways. He said that Monticello has no plans at this time to press charges against the six who were removed from the museum grounds."

The officials at Monticello know better than to press charges against those that honor the Constitution by protesting, unlike those that are paid to protect George Bush's bubble. By showing up, he ruined the day for those that took the oath of citizenship on this symbolic day. The price he paid for that is far less than he deserves for all his war crimes, but the fact that Swanson and others helped to burst that bubble helps put a smile on this liberal's face.

Edwards v. Rove: One Debate You Won't Want To Miss

John Edwards fared poorly against Dick Cheney four years ago when the two were Vice-Presidential opponents, but now John has a chance to redeem himself. On September 26th both the Senator and Republican strategist and fuzzy mathematician Karl Rove are set to debate each other at the University of Buffalo.

From The Buffalo News:

GOP strategist Karl Rove and former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards will debate the issues of the presidential campaign Sept. 26 as part of the university’s Distinguished Speakers Series, The Buffalo News has learned.

As surrogates for the parties’ standard bearers, the two also could square off more than once at other locations around the nation.

“We’re working on something like that for our Distinguished Speakers Series,” said Bill Regan, UB’s director of special events. “We’re not really sure of the format yet. But we do think they are scheduled to do it at least once together before they come to UB.”

This is one debate that I will definitely not miss. Buffalo may be a few hours away from NYC, but it is definitely worth the ride up there. I suggest everyone get a way to follow this, because watching Karl Rove with John Edwards outside of the safety net that is Fox News will be priceless.

A Patriotic Song For The Fourth

Show your patriotism by standing up for the founding fathers that wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Our current pResident doesn't give a damn about it, so this is the perfect song for the situation.

I've gone 'patriotic' myself today, wearing the CSNY shirt from their Freedom of Speech tour two years ago. Neil Young and the rest of the group played this song with the entire crowd cheering them on.

Oh and in case you didn't know, it was actually July 2nd when the Declaration of Independence was signed and was delivered to the world on the fourth, 232 years ago today.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

State Dept Prefers Snooping In Passports To Globe Or Enquirer

There are many Americans who are obsessed with the lives of our nation's celebrities. To find out the latest dress worn, spouse cheated on or general gossip, there are many avenues to find that out, whether it be in the tabloids or tabloid TV shows. But if you work in the State Department, there are ways of finding out information without picking up the rags at the supermarket.

From TPM:

A report from the department's inspector general to be released Thursday said that a survey of the records of 150 notable politicians, athletes and entertainers found that 127 of them had been accessed, some of them multiple times. The report did not say whether they had been viewed for legitimate reasons, but noted that the number seems high.

"Although an 85 percent hit rate appears to be excessive, the department currently lacks criteria to determine whether this is actually an inordinately high rate," it said.

Nonetheless, the report said investigators found numerous problems in the system that is supposed to protect the confidentiality of passport records and called for 22 specific actions to improve it.

The inspector general "found many control weaknesses, including a general lack of policies, procedures, guidance, and training relating to the prevention and detection of unauthorized access to passport and applicant information and the subsequent response and disciplinary processes when a potential unauthorized access is substantiated," it said.

There have been a general lack of any kind of control, sensible policy-making, guidance and training when it comes to any and all departments of the executive branch under the Bush Administration. This is just one aspect, one that disrespects the privacy of those that trust their government to keep their personal information secure.

The Devil Extends His Deal With Rush Limbaugh

In exchange for delivering daily doses of right-wing talking points and outrageous comments, the devil (a.k.a. Clear Channel and Premiere) has made an extravagant deal with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Rush has already been going strong with his ditto-heads for twenty years and now all of us will have to put up with him for the next eight. The only winner out of this, if you can call him that, is Rush, who will receive a cool $400 million over that time.

From The NY Times:

The A.M. radio host will be paid about $400 million to continue serving up his daily dose of conservative patter through 2016. His $50 million a year paycheck represents a raise of about $14.4 million a year over his current contract, which was paying him $285 million over eight years and was set to expire in 2009.

The deal — struck a month short of the 20th anniversary of “The Rush Limbaugh Show” — is thought to be the most expensive in radio since Howard Stern moved to Sirius Satellite Radio for a reported $500 million in 2004.

“I’m not retiring until every American agrees with me,” Mr. Limbaugh, 57, said on his radio program Wednesday.

Well then Rush will either become immortal and earn a gazillion dollars over the next few hundred years. More likely though, the devil will give up eventually and throw him into the hell that he so richly deserves. That hell will be a more equitable, prosperous and free society.

Deconstructing Fox News Lies About Barack Obama

Even if Barack Obama tries to distance himself from some of MoveOn's more controversial moves, Fox News and the entire right wing establishment will try to paint him otherwise. Careless lies easily proven with the facts are undertaken and will be undertaken at an increasing rate. That is why we must fight back and instantly discredit them, no matter what.

McCain Bristles At P.O.W. Question

John McCain gave Wesley Clark a lot of heat so far this week when he said that being a P.O.W. doesn't qualify you to be President. McCain and much of the media spun that common sense statement into disparaging McCain's military record, which he did nothing of the sort. So when one reporter from ABC sees what Clark said and tries to get McCain to answer the question....well, watch out for the fire breathing dragon.

From Digby:

An ABC reporter gave John McCain the opportunity to discuss Wes Clark's comment - the ACTUAL remarks - and McCain went apeshit.
McCain became visibly angry when I asked him to explain how his Vietnam experience prepared him for the Presidency.

“Please,” he said, recoiling back in his seat in distaste at the very question.

McCain allies Sen. Lindsey Graham stepped in to rescue him. Graham expressed admiration for McCain’s stance on the treatment of detainees in US custody.
(That would be the stance that he flipped on by voting against a ban on torture in the Senate just this year.)

Yes, that would be one of his many flip-flops. The truth is, McCain's position on anything can change with wind. When push comes to shove though, Johnny boy will do whatever is best for the right wing and their fervent supporters, especially those with lots of money. If torture is good for business, then so be it.

Now back to the issue at hand. If the media got to see this little outburst, wait till the get a load of the real McCain when the pressure of the campaign really gets to him. A friend of mine predicted tonight that either Obama or McCain will win with a wide margin come November. With enough outbursts, we might just see that epic blowout for Obama on the horizon even before election day.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wingers' Latest Target: Animated Robots

Some people have soap operas to entertain them, but I much prefer crazy right-wing radio hosts like Lars Larson. He went on Dan Abrams' show last night to defend the latest conservative talking points about....of all things, the new Disney movie Wall-E. Now I've had my disagreements with Mickey's company before (writers strike, subliminal messages in their cartoon movies, etc) but this crap about teaching kids that human beings are bad is just absurd.

From ThinkProgress:

Last night, MSNBC’s “Verdict” with Dan Abrams ran a segment on the reaction to the film, with conservative talk radio host Lars Larson largely agreeing with the right-wing attacks, insisting the movie “is propaganda.” He even half-jokingly demanded to know whether Abrams was “in favor of robot marriage.” Larson was furious that the movie suggested humans need to take care of the earth:

ABRAMS: This is craziness, right?

LARSON: No, no. … It’s propaganda! We’re talking about a movie that foists off on little kids the idea that human beings are bad for planet earth. And that’s not true. Why are human beings bad for planet earth? … If you take your kids to this, understand they’re going to come away with the idea that mommy and daddy are bad for the planet and the planet would be better off without them.

It’s no surprise that Larson, a long-time global warming denier, would detest the film’s ecological message. Larson has admitted that “we’re warming up a little bit,” but insists “it’s not caused by humans and it’s not curable by humans.”

Being good stewards of our planet is obviously fascist and fear-mongering to these deluded nit wits. Heaven forbid a movie teaches some good morals to our children about trying to reverse the ecological damage our species has done to this planet. And especially if Lars Larsen was your Dad, you'll need it.

According To Fox, Lieberman Is A Terrorist

Long before some moronic Fox News anchor discovered Barack Obama's "terrorist fist jabbing" there were troubling signs from Joe Lieberman:

Christopher Hitchens Literally Tortures Himself

Christopher Hitchens has been known to be controversial for his views on politics and especially religion. He has been called many names from both sides of the political spectrum, but one thing he certainly cannot be called is 'chicken'. Recently, in the name of journalism, Hitchens decided to see for himself if waterboarding is torture.

From RawStory:

Christopher Hitchens, the British journalist who is among the staunchest defenders of the war in Iraq, was waterboarded for a recent article in Vanity Fair.

"Believe Me, It's Torture" is the article's title.

In it and an accompanying video Hitchens outlines a trip to North Carolina where interrogators experienced in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) training that Special Forces soldiers participate in to resist torture at the hands of enemies.

"I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: 'If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.' Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture," Hitchens wrote after enduring the procedure.

Of course, anyone with common sense and the ability to watch prior video of the practice knows that this procedure is torture. It is a shame that Mr. Hitchens had to feel it literally before proclaiming that proverbial duck is truly a duck. Nevertheless, Hitchens' stunt keeps the government's practice in the spotlight....although I sincerely doubt any of the chickenhawks in Congress or the White House will stand down from their assertions that waterboarding is hunky dory.

McCain Moves Bushie Into Top Campaign Post

John McCain, after a few pathetic attempts at trying to look like something other than George Bush has seemingly given up. Not only are his policies remarkably similar (favoring the rich over the poor, staying in Iraq, machismo over diplomacy, etc) but his campaign organization is looking a lot like that of George Bush. The question is, will this be as successful a move as it was for Georgie?

From Politico:

Steve Schmidt is taking over the day-to-day operation of John McCain’s campaign, according to multiple campaign sources.[...]

McCain sources say Schmidt, who ran Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's reelection campaign and was a top communications aide in Bush-Cheney '04, will coordinate the campaign's daily pro-McCain and anti-Obama message but also will have an increased role in shaping most every facet of the organization including scheduling, policy, coalitions and surrogates.

Davis will focus more on big-picture issues such as general strategy, helping to plan the convention, picking a vice president and tending to the needs of major donors. [...]

Now, accounts diverge on the exact nature of the new chain of command. One top McCain source said that Schmidt "assumed full operational control of the campaign today" and described Davis as "a general manager."

But Charlie Black, another top adviser, said Davis was still in charge.

"Steve is going to function under Rick as a [chief operating officer]," Black said. "Rick still has authority over all things. Steve works for Rick."

But Black made sure to not diminish Schmidt's elevated role in the campaign.

"He'll be the maestro who conducts the symphony," Black said of Schmidt's position in driving McCain's message.

Wow, the chain of command sounds almost as confusing as the candidate's message. With all of these egos thinking they are in charge, the chaos that will blossom from it will truly be a spectacle to behold. Putting lobbyists and ex-Bushies together in a war room may have been good for corporate profits, but when the goal is to make a winning campaign out of losing material the outcome may not be what the players have been accustomed to in 2000 and 2004.

McCain's Lap Dog Express Press

The press (for the most part) gives lap dogs a bad name when trying to describe their sycophancy for John McCain. Seriously I wonder if they ever go behind stage after these ridiculous segments and cry for their lost objectivity and journalistic credibility...or does the money anesthetize all of those feelings?

You Know Gas Prices Are Bad When....

The title starts off like a bad joke, but the terrible thing is the reality of this situation, both for Angela Eversole....and everyone else that has to endure the cost of gas. Some people have already gone to the extraordinary lengths of stealing gas, either at the pump or siphoning from other people's cars. Now we have acquisitions of gas on a whole new level.

From The Cincinnati Enquirer:

FORT WRIGHT – Police set up a sex sting at the Days Inn on Dixie Highway last weekend, expecting to arrest women who came there to trade sex for money.

They also found something else: a woman accused of trading sex for gasoline.

While doing surveillance at the hotel, officers spotted a woman they knew because of her criminal history.

They discovered she was there for sex – and that she was allegedly paid with a $100 gas card.

“When people are selling their bodies for gas, that’s pretty sad,” said Ken Easterling, chief prosecutor in the Kenton County Attorney’s Office.

Angela R. Eversole, 34, of Fort Wright, is accused of prostitution and doing business without an occupational license.

"Pretty sad" doesn't even begin to describe this situation. People are suffering all over from the explosive rise in gas prices and some will do almost anything to keep their cars running. Angela Eversole certainly did.

Con Ed Works It Out With Local 1-2

After all the bluster and drama over the last week, Con Ed and their main union, the Local 1-2, worked out a deal to satisfy both sides. The workers were set to strike as of midnight but the deal got done after hours anyways. This is definitely a good thing for everyone that counts on Con Edison's power and from what we can tell so far, a great thing for the people that keep the utility humming.


Joe Flaherty, a spokesman for the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, said that the two sides negotiated a range of issues, including wages, safety and health care.

One of the major sticking points for the union—Con Edison's proposal to switch from traditional pensions to a 401(K)-style plan for new employees—was tabled by the utility "at the 11th hour," Flaherty said.

"I think they fully understood that this union and its members would not stand for a change in their long traditional pension," Flaherty said. The union represents about two-thirds of Con Edison's 14,000 employees.

Con Edison spokesman Michael Clendenin did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.

So while we don't know the pay structure, the fact that Con Ed caved on trying to privatize the pension system was a huge boon for Union members that count on that for their retirement. While Wall Street may cry over a few lost dollars in transactions, it is comforting to know that the pension system will remain the same and stay as reliable as they have been for generations. Score a victory for the Local 1-2!

Obama Backs Up Wes Clark

Contrary to media reports that Barack Obama distanced himself from Wesley Clark's comments about McCain, just the opposite is true. When General Clark said that being a POW doesn't immediately qualify you to be President, he was exactly right. Yet the right tried to demonize him, because they know that McCain's illusion of POW=President is the only thing he has going for him.

Senator Reid Takes On Dirty Coal

No matter what someone tries to tell you about "clean" coal, it is a dirty, filthy and unhealthy material from deep under the ground that pollutes the environment when used as energy. You can't just scrub it in a bathtub, ask any scientist (that isn't paid by the coal industry) and they will tell you that no matter what you do, coal will still do environmental damage. The myth that it is safer than 150 years ago is blatantly misleading and our Majority Leader in the Senate stated the obvious on Fox Business News.

From Politico:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn't necessarily known as a multimedia sensation, but thanks to his "coal makes us sick" comment, Reid has rocketed to the top of YouTube.

This video of Reid on Fox Business Network now sits atop YouTube's "most viewed" list, with nearly 215,000 views, thanks in large part to a link on the Drudge Report.

Senate Republicans are sending around the video as part of an effort to make Democrats appear out of touch on the need to produce more energy and drill more oil wells. But Reid may get the last laugh, since he controls the Senate schedule and may force the GOP to take some difficult votes on energy policy in the coming weeks.

The only thing that Reid is out of touch on with this issue is the interests of the coal industry. Reid is right that coal is a sickening fuel source. Now you can laugh along with the Republicans who support "clean" coal or you can check out the facts on the matter. Personally, I'm going with the latter.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Clark Calls It Like It Is: McCain Is A Fake

Since McCain really has nothing good to campaign on, he has been trying to fling mud onto General Wesley Clark. If McCain thinks that it will stick to either the General or Barack Obama, he doesn't know what he's getting into. Clark and McCain served our country, but this type of verbal combat will not be won by desperately clinging to the bars that once imprisoned John McCain nearly 40 years ago. If McCain tries to continue to make this an issue that he thinks will win him votes, Clark will firmly put him in his place.

From RawStory:

McCain's rolled out a slew of surrogates to take to the phone lines and unleash varying degrees of "how dare he" on Gen. Wesley Clark, a supporter of Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Clark is not backing down from his observation, first aired Sunday morning, that McCain's honorable service as a Vietnam veteran and POW does not automatically mean he has the right judgment to be commander in chief.

Appearing on liberal radio host Ed Schultz's show Tuesday, Clark stuck to his guns, and he accused McCain and the GOP apparatus of drumming up a false controversy.

"The only orchestration was by Republicans," Clark said, referring to unsubstantiated accusations that his criticism was encouraged by Obama, who has repeatedly distanced himself from Clark's remark.

"I think that since John McCain's hired the Swift Boat team to protect his military record," Clark continued, "they just decided they would launch a preemptive strike."

Unfortunately for us, Obama has not stood by Clark's side, when he should be standing with him shoulder to shoulder. Wes Clark has said nothing wrong and he should continue to speak truthfully because he is a man with integrity and character. When Clark goes up against a man that doesn't (like McCain) there is no question who rises victorious.

Iraqi Oil News You Won't Hear In The Traditional Media

Amy Goodman boldly reports where no corporate media men and women will dare to go. As you can see, there is quite a difference between Democracy Now and the rest of the media out there:

In America, Guns Are Used More For Suicide Than Homicide

The majority in the Supreme Court might have thought they were protecting the Second Amendment last week with their controversial ruling, but the evidence across the country shows us something the NRA would rather keep hidden. Far from the myth that guns in the home protect citizens from mortal danger, the reality is that having a gun in the house increases the chance of a suicide or homicide in the home.

From RawStory:

ATLANTA - The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gun ownership last week focused on citizens' ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. But research shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves.

Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation's nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There was nothing unique about that year — gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the last 25 years. In 2005, homicides accounted for 40 percent of gun deaths. Accidents accounted for 3 percent. The remaining 2 percent included legal killings, such as when police do the shooting, and cases that involve undetermined intent.

Public-health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater.

In fact, as the article states, crime was reduced after the D.C. ban was instated over 30 years ago. Unfortunately the strength of groups like the NRA have cut into gun control largely thanks to the conservative ideology that has run rampant in our country. Now that the courts have more and more "thinkers" like Antonio Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, we can expect more decisions like this in the future...regardless of the facts in each case.

Sudan, Somalia, Whats The Difference

Both countries are in Africa, both countries start with the letter "S" and both countries have some degree of problems beleaguering what is the big difference if John McCain can't tell them apart? This isn't a geography bee competition that the Maverick has going with Barack Obama. And as this is America, why should we have respect for other countries across the globe. George Bush certainly didn't care and now the world hates us more than ever, so having McCain in the Presidential chair shouldn't change the status quo much at all.

From ThinkProgress:

John McCain misspoke and confused his African countries while talking to reporters on the Straight Talk Express today. This time, he was bailed out not by Joe Lieberman, but by his close aide Mark Salter. “How can we bring pressure on the government of Somalia?” McCain asked, which prompted Mark Salter to correct him. “Sudan,” Salter said. “Sudan,” McCain repeated. “There’s a realpolitik side of my view of the conduct of American foreign policy.”

Somalia might have been shocked to hear that the U.S. government was looking to put pressure on them, especially after the interventionist blunder we created back in the 90s under Clinton. Sudan on the other hand needs more than just tough talk from the State Department. Real action must be undertaken, whether by NATO or a push on the African Union to engage the genocide that has been occurring over there.

So when McCain talks about something concerning foreign policy (his self-described strength), you better watch out if you are in a city or country that could possibly sound like one that has been up to no good. I hope the army would know what to do when a potential President McCain would give orders to take out one nation instead of the other.

It is just all so darn confusing! Get off my lawn ya damn kids!!!!

McCain Protested By PA Workers

I wonder what type of voters John McCain was trying to sway in the swing state of Pennsylvania when he visited a company that grossly neglects their workers:

Golisano Intends To Knock GOP From NY Senate Perch

New York State Dems have gotten much closer over the last couple years to taking all three "rooms" in Albany, having a lock on the Assembly and a Democratic Governor for the past two years. The State Senate has been in Republican hands for quite some time, but now we are only two seats away from obtaining a majority there. Thanks to the generosity of Tom Golisano, campaigning against Republicans in several key races is looking fantastic from here on out.

From The Capitol:

The maverick billionaire and three-time gubernatorial candidate will next week travel to Albany to announce a plan to form a 527 political action committee to support candidates in State Senate races across New York.

A source familiar with Golisano’s thinking said the former gubernatorial candidate plans to spend $1 million of his own money on behalf of each candidate he supports. This includes targeting several incumbents, including at least one who was not previously in danger. Golisano could also potentially involve himself in contested Assembly primaries.

The source said Golisano plans on supporting candidates who share his agenda of reforming Albany, reforming the state budget and promoting economic development upstate, particularly in the region around Buffalo which he calls home.[...]

Golisano will be supporting Erie County Legislator Kathy Konst (D) in her bid to unseat State Sen. Dale Volker (R-Erie), former boxer Joe Mesi (D) in his primary bid to succeed retiring Sen. Mary Lou Rath (R-Erie) and former State Sen. Rick Dollinger (D-Monroe) in his bid to unseat Sen. Joe Robach (R-Monroe), though Golisano is unlikely to announce these specific candidates at his press conference next week.

This is certainly an interesting development with a huge infusion of cash into the State Senate races this year. Although the source says Golisano is going to be bipartisan about it, the Democratic party is highly favored here. Despite his emphasis on upstate, even downstate Dems like Dan Squadron could become privy to Golisano's efforts. The article hints at a possible boost to the campaigns of Henry and Newell who are challenging Speaker Silver.

All of this comes from what seems to be a quest to introduce "good" into our state government. Reform is crucial to opening up Albany and if Golisano is sincere about this, then more power to him. His history with the GOP was brief in 2006, but by and large he has been more associated with the Reform and Independence parties. The only way we can really tell is where he puts his money in this cycle.....and that could be happening soon.

Why The Local 1-2 Fights Con Edison

In just a few moments, negotiators from Con Edison and the Local 1-2 of the UWUA will go back to the bargaining table to hammer out a deal that is feasible to both sides. If they don't, the slightly delayed strike will go into effect tonight at midnight. Who knows if Paterson will institute another "cooling-off" period, but one thing is certain, union workers are probably not going to get what they want....and they haven't for quite some time. This isn't just a battle over percentages for the next few budgets, it is about quality of life.

From The NY Times:

Now, the solid wages and benefits that for decades have led Irish- and Italian-American men to follow their fathers and grandfathers into manholes, bucket trucks and substations are under threat, as the utility and the union that represents 8,800 of its nearly 14,000 workers try to hammer out a new four-year contract. The most recent pact expired on Sunday morning, with the union angry over what it described as the company’s proposal for a 1.5 percent annual wage increase — short of the 4.2 percent inflation rate — and a 401(k)-style savings plan, rather than the traditional pension, for new workers. The union, Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America, represents almost two-thirds of Con Edison’s employees.

“When I started, Con Ed was a very good company with great benefits, job security,” said Ken Burns, 46, a splicer who works in the Bronx and has 22 years with the company, where his grandfather spent his working life. “But with each contract, our benefits have decreased.”

So has Con Ed slowly been trying to undercut the union workers that keep it's system running. Well, yes and no. The executives at the top are taking advantage of their workers in an increasingly privatized society where company profits come before anything else. As the Times mentions, energy deregulation has had a lot to do with that. So while the union will fight for something better than what Con Ed has offered, they will not get the way of life their fathers and grandfathers had until Congress acts to restructure the energy industry.

Wes Clark Fights Back

McCain and his faithful media leaped onto General Clark yesterday for daring to suggest that being a POW doesn't automatically qualify you to be President. It is shocking I know, but being locked up in an enemy camp doesn't mean you get to rule the world when you get out. Wesley Clark not only stood up to his detractors, but he reiterated and reasserted his initial comments yesterday with Dan Abrams.

NY GOP Still Broke In The 13th

It has been a rough year for Republicans on Staten Island so far. Their embattled, but still incumbent Congressman Vito Fossella was caught driving drunk in Virginia, which subsequently led to the discovery of his secondary family and that brought down his house of cards...and his chances at being re-elected. Then a slew of possible challengers declined to run for the seat and when one finally stepped up, he died tragically of a heart attack. Now the petition filing deadline is looming next week and the only hope they have isn't even a Republican. Oy for them!

From The NYT Cityroom:

Republican leaders say that Mr. Powers campaign had collected about 1,500 signatures on Mr. Powers’s petitions. If there are more than the required 1,250, Mr. Powers’s committee on vacancy would be able to name a candidate to take his place on the ballot. That committee is controlled by party officials.

Mr. Morano said that he was planning to begin collecting signatures to qualify for the Republican line, apart from Mr. Powers’ petitions, in the event he is selected by Republican leaders to run on that party’s line.

Meanwhile, Jamshad Wyne, a cardiologist who is the finance chairman of the Staten Island Republican Party, is also a candidate for the seat. Dr. Wyne said that he has already collected 2,000 signatures and that he plans to continue getting more until the filing deadline.

But he has little support among the party’s leaders. They point to the fact that Dr. Wyne was fined $5,000 and placed on probation for three years in 2003 by the state Health Department’s Board for Professional Medical Conduct. The board said that he had practiced “with negligence on more than one occasion.”

So right now, the battle is between an Independence Party member and a negligent cardiologist. I'd really hate to be in Guy Molinari's shoes right now. How embarrassing would it be if they lost the seat in blowout fashion. It certainly could happen, and as we work for the Democratic nominee, whether it be a progressive like Harrison or Councilman McMahon, we will flip NY-13 to the Democratic Party.

Monday, June 30, 2008

McCain Rewards "Good Reporters"

Now that John McCain is the nominee and the money has begun flowing more considerably into RNC coffers, the Senator has upgraded from a bus (and commericial airline flights on his wife's jet) to his very own plane. Customized planes are always more luxurious than your standard coach fare and even better than 1st class. Yet on McCain's plane, there is yet another level set aside just for those special journalists that fall in line for their man McCain.

From ThinkProgress:

The Washington Post reports that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is now traveling in a new “Straight Talk Express” campaign airplane. It “features a special area” with “a couch and two captain’s chairs” where “McCain will conduct group interviews with the press.” But not all reporters covering McCain can enjoy this new lap of luxury. Top McCain aide Mark Salter said “‘only the good reporters’ would get to sit in the specially-configured section for interviews. ‘You’ll have to earn it,’ he said.” So how can these reporters “earn” a seat? Never challenge the Senator, as McCain biographer Matt Welch explained in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times:

[McCain is] very open to people. You can come on the bus, everything is great but if he knows or if his team knows that you have a hostile line of questioning or you have a long and well documented critique, they’re not going to talk to you. […]

As a human, he’s haunted by the notion of honesty and about honor and truth. He wishes that he could speak the truth all the time. He doesn’t. I don’t think he speaks the truth any more than any other politician really, no more, no less.

Gee, I wonder who this sounds like? Lacking honesty, honor and truth......could John McCain be trying to channel our current boy wonder George W? No, he isn't trying, it just comes naturally to John "McSame" McCain.

Wes Clark Rakes McCain Over The Coals With His Biggest Supposed Strength

John McCain has been doing something this year that he hasn't done in almost every campaign in his career, that is talking about his past as a POW. Now he is using it to gain the high ground on national security and experience. Well General Wesley Clark has just the right amount of words for that:

Religious Right Group Filters News To Turn "Gay" Into "Homosexual"

An interesting discovery came from the crazy world of the religious right. Olympian Tyson Gay won the 100 meter semifinal this weekend, but not according to OneNewsNow, owned by the American Family Association. Instead, it was Tyson Homosexual that won the race, not Gay. If that sounds confusing then you do not know what limits the religious right goes to to instill fear and hatred in their flock.

From PageOneQ:

OneNewsNow, the "Christian news service" covertly owned by the AFA, receives syndicated content from providers like the Associated Press and edits instances of the word "gay" to read "homosexual." Although the site is registered to the conservative, anti-gay organization, the fact is not disclosed anywhere on the site.

An article posted Sunday night about Olympic track and field star Tyson Gay was no exception.

"Tyson Homosexual easily won his semifinal for the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials," the article read, "and seemed to save something for the final later Sunday." The headline read "Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic events."

"On Saturday," it went on, "Homosexual misjudged the finish in his opening heat and had to scramble to finish fourth, then in his quarterfinal a couple of hours later, ran 9.77 to break the American record that had stood since 1999."

"Asked how he felt, Homosexual said: 'A little fatigued.'"

What tires me out is the overt and covert hatred groups like the AFA has for the GLBT community. At first glance one might wonder what the big deal is if they use the word 'gay' or 'homosexual' when covering gay issues (obviously they need an extra filter when the word is someone's last name or an article makes a reference to the word circa 1950).

Well in my view, semantics is always a powerful game to be played, whenever a political issue is at stake. 'Gay' also means happy and perhaps these right-wing wackos do not want to think that gay people can be 'gay'. Remember, it goes against G-d and all that junk. If you ever take the time to hear their comments and sermons from the AFA and others in their cause, they use 'homosexual' in a far more derogatory way than they could with 'gay.' Is this all nuts? Yes of course it is, but we need to engage and uncover this type of garbage wherever it oozes out from the ground.

Could McCain Lose Arizona?

I sincerely believe that this race is Barack Obama's to lose, not one for McCain to win. The Republicans have picked such an awful candidate this year (not that the rest of the field was any better) that just can't pull it off on his own. However, as a former campaigner in the Grand Canyon state the opposite is true in Arizona. As a whole it went more than ten points for Bush four years ago and McCain beat his Senatorial opponent by a huge margin. Now the thing of it is, McCain could lose his home state.

From The Christian Science Monitor:

For a senator who consistently gets 80 percent approval ratings from Arizonans, it seems strange, bizarre even, that John McCain would not be a shoo-in to win his home state in November's presidential election. Some in-state analysts say chances are fair, in fact, that Arizona will end up in the Democratic column.

A big part of the uncertainty may be that the Republican Party's presumptive nominee has not distanced himself enough from the Bush administration to satisfy the one-third of state voters who are independents. But Senator McCain has also seen his support erode among Arizona's avid Bush supporters and social conservatives, for not backing the president on issues dear to their hearts. Toss in the resources and clout of Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, who will be pulling hard for her party's nominee, and anything can happen.

Janet has a huge pull in this state and is loved by both Democrats and independents. She is the rock against the radical and racist agenda of many Republicans in the state legislature. That hard work has made her many admirers and activists willing to work this summer and fall to elect Obama.

Now the latest poll from Rasmussen has Obama within ten points, which is huge for late June. McCain is trying to be all things to all people, both in Arizona and across the country. That type of character and campaign style might just piss off enough people that he will not only lose the election, but even his very own state that has put him in the Senate by overwhelming numbers through the years.

Lieberman Fearmongers For McCain

Joe Lieberman continues to be a huge disgrace to himself and our country. He clearly shows he has no shame when promoting John McCain.

Bush Tries To Reassert "Compassionate Conservatism"

George Bush suddenly remembered his campaign pledge from nine years ago to introduce compassion to conservatism last week. It was conveniently forgotten once he stepped into office, replaced by the typical disdain for all things compassionate. The only thing that was the least bit soft and fuzzy was a disregard for separation of church and state, an idea revered by our founding fathers and for the most part, by a nation ever since. The moment he came in, he decided that helping the least amongst us should come at a religious price. Apparently he still believes that today.

From The Washington Post:

As he noted in his speech on Thursday, Bush began talking as long ago as 1999 about loosening restrictions on the participation of religiously affiliated groups in government programs. That led to his executive order creating the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the White House, and a proliferation of similar offices throughout the government.

Bush said the moves were meant to "ensure that the armies of compassion play a central role in our campaign to make America more promising and more just."

But controversies have erupted regularly, usually focused on allegations of improper favoritism for the religious right or improper proselytizing. Last week, the Justice Department fired an official under investigation for her role in doling out faith-based grants after she did not show up for a House hearing.

Whether you call it holy or unholy, President Bush is full of shit. The only reason he brought up the subject is that one of his underlings was caught doing exactly what he wanted to see done. Compassion (i.e. helping the poor) was meant for those that could stomach the religious propaganda thrown at them along with a hot meal or a job training session. And being that Bush tried to garner favor with the evangelicals (a group that helped him tremendously in his quest for the White House, both to get there in 2000 and stay there in 04'), the money went to Christian groups more so than Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, you name it and specifically those groups run by his campaign contributors. Oh and you can forget about atheists or agnostics, they don't count to George Bush.

Con Ed-Union Deadlock Now Going Til Wednesday

This weekend the Governor took it upon himself to stand between Con Edison and Local 1-2 of the UWUA to avert a strike of more than 9,000 members that help the power grid of New York City humming. The workers were set to walk out at 12am yesterday, but now the two sides are still at the bargaining table....until Wednesday at midnight. The question is, will the proposals be amenable to both sides?


Gov. David Paterson intervened late Saturday in negotiations between Consolidated Edison and the union representing almost two-thirds of the utility's work force just minutes before the midnight deadline for a possible strike expired and persuaded both sides to agree to a "cooling off period," a spokesman for the governor said.

Negotiations were suspended early Sunday and were scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Paterson spokesman Errol Cockfield said. Cockfield said the governor had been monitoring the talks while recovering at his Manhattan home from surgery Saturday morning to remove a cataract.

Paterson, concerned about the impact of possible service disruptions on customers created by a strike during the summer, reached out by telephone to Con Edison chief executive Kevin Burke and Harry Farrell, president of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, Cockfield said.

Well now that Paterson has publicly intervened, what will he do to avoid another impasse by tomorrow night? Con Ed figuratively slapped the union in the face with a 0.5% increase (followed by 1% increases down the road) and it took them quite a bit of time to come up with that. Will the Governor (or is he actively) working on getting the regulated utility to pay workers a wage that is more in line with what the union wants to see? We're waiting and we'll get a better picture of it all when the two sides get back to the table tomorrow morning.

McCain Flips And Flops On Immigration

McCain may be great at playing to different audiences with answers that they want to hear, but there is a problem when your answers conflict with your own words time and time again. McCain may say he understands the Internet without using it, but clearly he has no idea how YouTube works in society.

McCain Proves He's Out Of Touch Again

Anyone that has paid close attention to John McCain, whether it be his campaign for Presidency or his legislative career, knows that his "maverick," "straight-talk express" facade is merely that. All that lies beneath is a standard-issue, hollow-shelled politician that has sold out to the corrupt system that is Washington, D.C. fused with corporate America. He is an out of touch elitist, who really doesn't give a damn about the average American, the average people he meets are rich corporate investors, bankers and especially large campaign contributors. And he proved it again this past week when he was asked about gas prices, an issue of central concern to a great majority of voters and all Americans.

From ThinkProgress:

In a telephone interview with the Orange County Register earlier this week, John McCain acknowledged he was unaware of the price of gas. The OC Register’s Martin Wicksol reports:

WICKSOL: When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?

MCCAIN: Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters.

I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of town hall meetings, many as short a time ago as yesterday. I communicate with the people and they communicate with me very effectively.

Oh Mr. McCain, it does matter. It matters a whole lot to those that pump the gas. Back when you had to do it yourself, it probably cost less than a dollar to get a gallon out of the pump. Now those that fill their cars are shelling out close to $5 a gallon and will be doing much more than that. Your gas tax holiday and flip-flop on drilling our coasts are gimmicks that do nothing for our energy crisis.

I can tell you from personal experience of being in NYC and not having a car, to going out to Connecticut last weekend and filling up for a drive was shocking. And it wasn't like I was ignorant of those rising prices either. Watching the digital wheels spin as the gas guzzled into the car is much more powerful and real than any spreadsheet your aides can show you.