Saturday, August 09, 2008

Newsflash: Republicans Hate Big Oil Too!

This isn't about the elected officials in the back pocket of oil lobbyists, so lets be clear on that first. We are talking about the Republican primary voters in Tennessee who ousted their long time Congressman David Davis. The challenger, Phil Roe, a Republican mayor in the area beat out Davis by a slim margin, but the fact that he won in an area where incumbency rules is huge. The fact that he did it by calling out Davis' connection to big oil is also tremendous.

From RawStory:

Being linked to "big oil" turned into a big problem for Tennessee Republican freshman Rep. David Davis, who became the first congressman from that state to lose in a primary in more than four decades.

Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe beat Davis by a 500-vote margin Thursday in the solidly Republican 1st District in the northeastern corner of the state.

Roe's victory came after a bruising campaign in which he accused Davis of selling out to "big oil."

Congressional incumbents from Tennessee are rarely voted out of office. Statewide, the last time an incumbent was defeated in a party primary was 1966 when Democrat Tom Murray lost to Ray Blanton in what was then the 7th District. Blanton won the general election then became governor in 1974.

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, everyone is equal, depending on the car they buy of course, when standing in front of a gas pump. Sky high prices will drive (no pun intended) people to do extraordinary things, such as kicking out local Congressman in the desire for change. The residents of TN-01 may have just picked another Republican, but it business as usual was not what they voted for this time around.

Oil companies, their lobbyists and the politicians who take their money better beware. This small primary could be more telling than they'd like it to be.

John McCain Outtakes

Being that McCain is such a funny guy, I'd like to post this video full of clips that show exactly the type of man.....and President he'd be:

Friday, August 08, 2008

Jimmy Dahroug Drops Out, Leaves Foley To Face Trunzo

The Edwards news is disheartening to say the least, but the local news also has me quite sad on this Friday afternoon. Jimmy Dahroug has decided to bow out of his primary race against Brian Foley, a race engineered by the Democratic establishment looking to place a candidate in a district that became vulnerable to Republicans and in particular, Senator Trunzo.

Trunzo is definitely someone that needs to be beaten and Dahroug or Foley would be a million times better than Joe Bruno's old compadre. We are two seats away from taking back the majority in the State Senate and now I will be fully on board to defeat Trunzo and support Foley, despite past grievances.

With a month to go, it is still odd that Jimmy would drop out in the face of Foley's petition challenge having been withdrawn. He had the signatures and he was good to go. He was the progressive candidate running against a party plant who just got his website up (to some degree anyway) this past weekend.

Sigh. There is more to this story without a doubt. Perhaps Jimmy was pressured by the DSCC, perhaps it was the fund-raising discrepancy or that maybe in Long Island being Town Supervisor makes you superior when running for State Senate. Whatever the reason, it may or may not come out in the next three months or a few weeks after November 4th once the political scene cools off after election day.

What is important now is that progressives, moderates and everyone in between get behind Brian Foley, so that we get that much closer to a Democratic majority.

John Edwards, I Hardly Knew Ye

On a friday afternoon and it being the first day of the Olympics, John Edwards cowardly came out and admitted the affair with Rielle Hunter to be true. As a long time Edwards supporter, I am deeply ashamed to hear this news, especially since he repeatedly lied about Hunter during his Presidential campaign. I couldn't even imagine the damage he would have done to the country had he become the nominee. I couldn't have imagined saying this a couple weeks ago or especially in February, but I am so glad he lost early.

From ABC News:

In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 44-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.

Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter's baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test.

Edwards said he knew he was not the father based on timing of the baby's birth on February 27, 2008. He said his affair ended too soon for him to have been the father.

He came clean to Elizabeth two years ago and obviously she has forgiven him or else she would have left him, but then again no one knows what goes on inside a marriage except for those that are in it. Those details I leave up to the Edwards' family, but as for the Presidential race and the lies he told us....what a terrible thing to do, especially when so much is riding on this election. If John McCain were running against Edwards instead of Obama, we'd be in serious trouble.

Also, in spite of all his tremendous work in the fight against poverty, this incident puts a terrible stain on his reputation. The affair shadows the important issue of the class war in our society and the things we must do to combat it, at least in regards to Edwards' contributions.

John McCain Tells Another Whopper

No earmarks John? Come on, you should know by now we are too smart for that. It is too easy to call out your BS in this day and age.

Barr Helps Obama Out In New Hampshire

Bob Barr, the recovering Republican turned libertarian (not great but better than the GOP) made news in the Granite State today by turning in the required amount of petition signatures to make the ballot. The required amount was 3,000, but Barr nearly doubled that with 5,000. New Hampshire, with its "Live Free or Die" motto has given itself plenty of choices for the Presidential election this coming November.

From Politicker NH:

New Hampshire voters are one step closer to having the option of picking from two Libertarian presidential candidates.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr has collected 5,000 signatures in the Granite State and George Phillies has already qualified to appear on the November ballot. August 6 was the deadline for thirty-party candidates to hand in 3,000 to local election officials who will then verify the signatures.

"There are no sure things when dealing with the two party system, but we have over 5000 signatures submitted for confirmation," New Hampshire Libertarian Party Chairman Brendan Kelly said in an e-mail. "I have turned in 1000 in the Seacoast area and have been getting 90% confirmation. Hope this holds up for the rest of the state."

So in addition to McCain and Obama, Bob Barr and George Phillies will join Ralph Nader as the exceptions to the two-party system. New Hampshire is definitely known for it's independent streak, but it generally skews to the right as opposed to the left. Therefore we should see Phillies and especially Barr take more voters away from the Dems and Repubs than Nader can. With polls already favoring Obama over McCain with only their names on the questionnaire, this can only be good news for the Obama campaign in their quest to solidly win the Northeast.

Con Edison Admits Fault For Steam Pipe Explosion

The P.R. mavens at Con Ed might not shout their acceptance of accountability from the rooftops, but the deal they made regulators is pretty damn good. Last year's steam explosion near Grand Central killed one woman and injured many others, including a truck driver that was severely burned by the blast. For a while Con Ed tried to escape blame while penalizing businesses in the area, but after more than a year, they are singing a much more pleasant tune.

From The NY Daily News:

Con Edison has agreed to swallow almost $24 million in repair costs from last summer's devastating steam blast, as well as the extra $2 million a year it must now pay for liability insurance.

The utility also agreed to credit customers near the blast site at Lexington Ave. and 41st St. for utility bills they paid when they couldn't enter their buildings.

Regulators and a state consumer watchdog have signed onto the proposal, which would settle a state probe into whether Con Ed improperly operated its Manhattan steam network.

The deal "assures that the utility, rather than the ratepayer, pays for repairing the infrastructure, upgrading the system and addressing customer claims," said Mindy Bockstein, head of the state Consumer Protection Board. "The proposal represents the best deal we could have achieved for New York consumers."

The ratepayer has no business shelling more dough out for Con Ed's mistakes. Operating that steam system is like playing with fire and apparently safety was not the top concern immediately before that pipe tore the street open and damaged several buildings. The best solution is to shut it down, but when it comes to infrastructure in New York, or in this country for that matter, unfortunately that isn't of enough concern to the government. I wonder how many of these tragic events have to occur before they get it?

Imagine If George Bush Realized What He's Done

Leave it to the masters at the Onion to dream about a day when George Bush wakes up to the collective nightmare he created:

Landlords Start Hedging Their Bets In Albany

The times, they are a'changin in Albany. Senate Democrats are looking to take the Majority back from Bruno Skelos and complete the trifecta for control of the State Legislature. For decades much needed legislation has been stymied by the partisan logjam, so with the possibility of the dam bursting, developers/landlords are putting their contributions in a place where they never thought imaginable, Democratic coffers.

From The NY Times:

Looking to block or water down an array of pro-tenant measures, including the repeal of vacancy decontrol, that have won support in the Democratic-controlled Assembly, real estate industry executives have stepped up their campaign donations to the Senate Democratic leadership, a review of campaign-contribution records shows. They are also continuing to contribute to Republicans.

The review, made by the New York Public Interest Research Group at the request of The New York Times, found that a selection of major real estate developers, lobbyists and limited liability corporations gave more than $750,000 to the Senate Democratic leadership last year and this year. That is 15 times more than the roughly $48,000 that the same developers and companies gave to the Democratic leadership from 2005 to 2006.[...]

Industry officials are particularly worried about a measure strongly supported by rank-and-file Senate Democrats that would abolish vacancy decontrol, a law under which rent stabilized apartments are decontrolled and revert to market rents when the occupants move out, if the regulated rent exceeds $2,000 a month. The Assembly approved legislation to abolish vacancy decontrol as part of a package of pro-tenant bills it passed in May. Tenant groups have said that should the Democrats win the Senate this fall, abolishing vacancy decontrol will be among the first issues they and their Democratic allies will push for in the Senate next year.

The powerful realty groups are sickened by the fact that tenants might get a few rights at the expense of their own bottom lines. Rent and real estate in general has spiraled out of control, forcing many longtime residents to leave the city. Meanwhile wealthy developers that can afford to give hundreds of thousands millions in contributions have been laughing all the way to the bank (who they get to charge exorbitant amounts by renting commercial space in the city). That type of money is very addictive for executives at these corporations and as Dan Cantor of the WFP points out, they hope it goes both ways:

“Campaign cash is like a drug, and the real estate industry are like heroin dealers,” said Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, which is leaning on Democrats to support a broad expansion of rent laws. “They have fed the Republicans’ habit for decades, and now they are trying to hook the Senate Democrats.”

We'll be ready for the intervention if necessary.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kucinich Goes After The Yankees...And The Mets

With the slightest amount of interest in Major League Baseball, a fan can tell you that the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox is legendary. However, there isn't much tension between the Cleveland Indians and the Yankees...or the Mets for that matter (Mets are in the other League, but that's besides the point). Regardless of team rivalries, Congressman Kucinich is leading an investigation into the construction of the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, being built simultaneously in the Bronx and Queens respectively.

From RawStory:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is opening an investigation into perks for New York City officials being offered as part of a deal to build a new stadium for the New York Yankees.

Kucinich (D-OH) chairs a House Oversight subcommittee, and he has made similar inquiries regarding the New York Mets stadium, which offers similar perks for city officials.

In its investigation of the deal between the Yankees and New York City for land on which the new stadium is to be built, Kucinich's Domestic Policy Subcommittee found that the lease allows city officials free use of a luxury box in the new stadium and priority rights to purchase up to 180 tickets per game.

Hmm, city officials would exchange taxpayer money for special New York City of all places? Never! For the amount of money New Yorkers have put down for the ridiculously wealthy Yankees is obscene even without the perks to grease local officials. If the Yanks get the additional money they've requested, public assistance for the team will almost touch $1.3 billion dollars. Oh and fans will still have to pay outrageous prices for seats.

We'll have to see how far Kucinich will go to stop the special favors, but don't expect a refund from George Steinbrenner for the costs of the stadium anytime soon.

A Maverick No More

John McCain isn't the same guy Americans remember from eight years ago, those that know him best (at least on the Dem side) in the Senate have seen the change and are calling him out on his likeness to the current disaster of a President.

Corporate Sponsor Coming To A Subway Station Near You?

With threats of two more fare increases in two years (on top of this year's hike) looming over straphangers' heads, the MTA is looking for more sources of revenue. One way to do that is to let corporations (and their ad agencies) take over stations throughout the city and coat each with light, paint and whatever material it takes put more messages of mass-consumerism into New Yorkers daily grind.

From AM New York:

Sponsorship, little more than a sketch on paper at this point, could become the most visible component of the agency's aggressive push to increase advertising revenue, which currently brings in a little more than $100 million a year.

Marketing firms "have contacted us to say that they have ideas and we're in the process of reviewing those," Sander said.

MTA officials would not provide further details on station sponsorships.

"There are a dozen people that would jump on this," said MTA board member Norman Seabrook, who called for the agency to rent subway stations to Disney several months ago. "There are thousands of people losing their jobs everyday and we cannot sit by and continue to raise their fares."

When the MTA makes it a choice between raising fares and plastering our subway stations with advertising, it isn't hard to decide on which the great majority will go with. However, the problem is that the situation was allowed to come to this, where we must be subjected to more consumer crap stuffed into our eyesockets. Sure, the stations are dilapidated and anything new would be an improvement, but again, the thing is we are forced into choices that let the corporate world push farther and farther into our lives, as opposed to just having a well-run MTA that doesn't experience hundreds of billions in yearly deficits.

McCain's Bus Catches Up With Campaign...Crash!!!

Although McCain was not at the scene of the actual accident, the bus with his name on it was just as good, though not for the person who was hit by the "Straight-Talk" bus. Earlier today Joe Lieberman was on the McCain bus down in Miami when the driver hit another van. Needless to say, any crash with a bus is usually not so pretty.

From The Miami Herald:

The expected Republican nominee's tour bus got tangled in a traffic accident about 3 p.m. Wednesday on Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 55th Street.

No one was injured. Both vehicles were damaged, but the van got the worst of it.

Sen. McCain was not traveling on the bus when the accident occured.

The bus driver, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman and an aide, were traveling south on Biscayne when they collided with a blue van, according to Miami police.

O.K. so it was found to be the van driver's fault. The key thing is that no one was hurt in the unfortunate incident. But as for the state of the campaign, the responsibility is all at the feet of John McCain and the crooks he lets run and talk for his operation....and plenty of people are hurt by McCain's policies and when it comes to Iraq, they can be killed as well.

Talking About Iraqi Infrastructure, Hayes Is Clueless

During this exchange on CNN, Cafferty points out many different facts about the status of Iraq infrastructure. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard seems to paint a picture that the infrastructure was "deplorable" before we invaded, despite the truth of the matter. Perhaps he's only concerned with the state of the oil rigs, since that is all Iraq is worth to people like Hayes.

Dave Pollak Tapped To Run Obama's NY Operation

I have heard criticism that the Obama campaign should have had a state director here by now, since New York is an important part of the puzzle to winning a Presidential election. Not only is the money a good thing to have, but the citizen power that drives up voter participation and swing state outreach as well. Now the critics are silenced on the issue, because Dave Pollak has been chosen to run the state office.

Dave has been an active member in the New York political...and dare I say, progressive scene. He started Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century here in New York and co-chaired the NY Democratic Party as well. He's been to YearlyKos and knows the power of the netroots. He's a fantastic addition to the Obama team and has an equally impressive group of New Yorkers on his side as we work together to elect Barack Obama as our next President.

Additionally, Pollak has already been heavily involved with the NYSDC and DNC when it comes to voter outreach in this campaign cycle, so it is nice to know we are in good hands.

McCain Can Kiss Ohio Goodbye For This

One of the first states that are mentioned in terms of winning or losing this Presidential election is Ohio. It (disputably) gave Bush the cushion he needed to stay another four years in the White House. Ohio is a working-class state with many jobs that are being shipped out in order to pad profits of large corporations, corporations like DHL. Ohioans are concerned about their merger with Airborne-Express and the massive job loss that will ensue. McCain told a teary-eyed voter that he didn't know if he could stop the merger, but his campaign manager knows that he'll do everything in his power to make sure it goes through.

From The Washington Post:

In 2003, for instance, DHL Holdings (USA) and Airborne hired Davis to lobby the Senate to facilitate a merger. Hotly opposed by shipping giants FedEx and United Parcel Service, the merger encountered opposition from Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on the commerce committee. McCain took steps that helped Davis's clients. He thwarted Stevens's effort to insert language into legislation that would prohibit foreign-controlled companies such as DHL from holding certain military contracts.

Davis's firm earned $125,000 from Airborne in 2003 and $465,000 from DHL parent company Deutsche Post World Net (USA) from 2003 to 2005, records show.

A group called Preserve Luke Air Force Base hired Davis in 2004 and 2005 to help win approval of an Arizona land swap. Guy Inzalaco, who was part of a development group, formed Preserve Luke AFB to push for the exchange. He knew McCain's help would be critical.

"We were like, 'Okay, who's close to Senator McCain?' " Inzalaco recalled. "There were a number of people. We talked to them all. Rick [Davis] was one of them. We knew he was tight with the senator."

That is why Davis works "for free" as McCain's campaign manager. It may be free in terms of a check from the McCain campaign, but indirectly, Davis has made millions as a result of Senator McCain's influence. Now McCain's camp can claim that Davis isn't lobbying now and that this has nothing to do with what is going on now, but the American people aren't stupid and that goes double for Ohioans on this matter. When they go into the ballot booth and see McCain and Obama, they'll know Obama wants change and McCain....well, they see who he works with and the damage they do to the local economy.

What Is A Fiscal Conservative

Cenk Uyugr was sent a simple cartoon that easily explains what Reagan, Bush I and II were....with that dastardly "tax and spend" liberal Bill Clinton too.

Jobless Rate At It's Worst In Six Years

John McCain and George Bush are happy with the current economical climate, saying that economy is structurally sound. Despite his attempt at getting everyone to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, the reality for many Americans is not as cheery as it is for the President and others that are as ridiculously wealthy as he is. In fact, it is getting worse by the day.

From CNBC:

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 7,000 to 455,000 for the week ending Aug. 2. The increase left claims at their highest level since late March 2002.[...]

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, rose to 419,500 last week, the highest since mid-July 2003.

The number of people continuing to collect unemployment benefits went up by 31,000 to 3.3 million for the week ending July 26, the most recent period for which that information is available. That was the highest since early December 2003.

With less than six months to go in his term, George could care less about the millions who are unemployed and the millions more who are under-employed. He's off to Beijing to watch the Olympics, giving a bit more credibility to the Chinese government, which is another sad excuse for a government. At least they admit to torture though, so, um, I guess that's better than us trying to hide it in unobstructed daylight?

Anyways, John McCain has less than three months before Barack Obama humiliates him at the polls. He is still signed on to Bush's economic policies and still relies on the advice of Phil Gramm, a man who thinks we should all quit whining about our economy. So as long as he sticks to that failed vision, Obama will be our next President, and help lead us from our troubled economic times caused by the last eight years of ineptitude.

Charlie Rangel, Give Back That Wal-Money!

WalMart has been the scourge of liberals and progressives for a long time now. They've angered us so many times over, whether by low-paying, poverty-inducing jobs, no health insurance, union-busting, decimating small businesses in the communities they spread into....I could go on and on here. Well for years and years the corporate behemoth has given the majority of its campaign and lobbying dollars to Republicans, they are even directing their store managers towards McCain.

Yet they aren't stupid, they know change is happening and the Congress is solidly Democratic and that is why they are starting to give more to Democrats than Republicans. We as concerned citizens, must act and force/shame/tell our elected officials not to take that money. That is why I am telling Charlie Rangel to give back that money made off the backs of the working poor.

From Working Life:

Wal-Mart has at least 80 class-action lawsuitsin 41 states pending against it.

Wal-Mart illegally denied full rest or meal breaks in violation of state wage and hour laws--a violation that may cost the company $2 billion.

Wal-Mart abuses women, and is the defendants in the biggest sex discrimination case in history.

Wal-Mart is a habitual tax-dodger.

Wal-Mart's heirs buy expensive paintings but won't give their workers decent health care.

Wal-Mart sued a disabled women, demanding she give back money she won in a settlement.

Wal-Mart exploits children in Mexico.

Wal-Mart lead a global corporate lobbying campaign to block a very modest improvement in Chinese labor laws--because Wal-Mart's business model depends on exploiting cheap labor, here and abroad.

And that's just a sample. Why would any political leader, who represents him or herself to be a defender of the working person, want to be affiliated with such a company?

The answer is clear: money. The Democratic Party is almost even with the Republican Party in the money it receives from Wal-Mart, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Center's data, published in an article in today's Wall Street Journal (I'll come back to that article in a moment), shows that 12 years ago, Wal-Mart's PAC gave 98 percent of its money to Republicans. In the current cycle, Democrats have received 48 percent of Wal-Mart's PAC expenditures.

In that article above, the list of Democrats is atrocious. All of them should stand up for the principles of the party that represents workers, if those aren't part of their own moral compass to begin with. That is why I call on New York's most powerful Congressman to give back that $5,500 contribution....and my own Congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney to give back the $1,000 they gave her as well.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Why T. Boone Pickens Really Supports Wind Power

When I saw T Boone Pickens ad to create wind power in the midwest, I was immediately suspicious. He made himself rich by being a corporate raider and an oil man. He's given millions to Republicans and efforts to attack the Democratic Party. Well Zaproot has the answer (along with two minutes of ads for green products at the end of the video) and as I thought, there was a selfish reason behind his supposed 'change of heart' after all.

EMILY's List Must Renounce Their Support Of Anti-Semite Nikki Tinker

Having volunteered some time for Emily's List in Arizona a few years back, I know that there are many good people in this organization. Their number one qualification for endorsing candidates is finding pro-choice women, but sometimes it is good to exercise some common sense (well all the time really). They failed to do that with Nikki Tinker, in her bid to unseat fellow Democrat and Congressman Steven Cohen. Simply put, her behaviors are inexcusable and have no business being endorsed by a supposedly reputable organization like Emily's List.

From TPM:

This brutal new attack ad from House candidate Nikki Tinker, who is challenging liberal Tennessee Rep. Steven Cohen in tomorrow's Democratic primary, just might be the nastiest, most race-baiting (and Jew-baiting) ad of the entire cycle:

"While he's in our churches, clapping his hands and tapping his feet ... he's the only senator who thought our kids shouldn't be allowed to pray in school," the announcer says, referring to an old vote against school prayer from when Cohen was a state senator. And remember, this is coming from a Democrat.

Cohen is the only white Congressman from a majority-minority district in the South, and was elected largely because of the divided field of black candidates in the 2006 primary, which included Tinker herself. Tinker never really stopped running against him, and has picked up the support of EMILY's List and a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Furthermore, Cohen is a Jew -- which makes the "our churches" line all the more suspicious. Tinker's campaign has not yet returned our call for comment on what message the ad is supposed to communicate.

The ad is sickening to say the least. Local reporters know how bad this ad is, along with the rest of her disgusting voter outreach attempts over the airwaves. I wrote Emily's List that I find their support of Tinker to be outrageous, and you can let them know what you think right here as well. If NARAL can support Congressman Cohen, so should Emily's List.

Come Get "Waterboarded" At Coney Island

A trip down to Coney Island includes the world-famous boardwork, gut-wrenching Cyclone and a general sense of disrepair in the amusement park. Well now, in its very last summer (in the current form anyways) a new attraction joins the scene, the "Waterboard Thrill Ride" by Steve Powers.

From The NY Times:

It looks at first like any other shuttered storefront near the boardwalk: some garish lettering and a cartoonish invitation to a delight or a scam — in this case there’s SpongeBob SquarePants saying, “It don’t Gitmo better!”

If you climb up a few cinderblock steps to the small window, you can look through the bars at a scene meant to invoke a Guantánamo Bay interrogation. A lifesize figure in a dark sweatshirt, the hood drawn low over his face, leans over another figure in an orange jumpsuit, his face covered by a towel and his body strapped down on a tilted surface.

Feed a dollar into a slot, the lights go on, and Black Hood pours water up Orange Jumpsuit’s nose and mouth while Orange Jumpsuit convulses against his restraints for 15 seconds. O.K., kids, who wants more cotton candy!

In interrupting a day at the beach with scenes of the United States government’s rougher practices, Mr. Powers is being deliberately provocative. “What’s more obscene,” he asks, “the official position that waterboarding is not torture, or our official position that it’s a thrill ride?”

The Bush Administration would call it a thrill ride, because, as we all know, the United States does not torture. Powers' creation is certainly a great way to attract attention to the issue, especially with our typical short attention span when it comes to hearing about waterboarding on the news. Yesterday's atrocity is today's afterthought for too many of us. So if a few thousand people get to see a re-enactment of what we do to terrorism suspects, then good for them....and cheers to Steve Powers for bringing it to Coney Island.

Media Picks Up On Surrogates Ignorance Of McCain

Although this happened to Barack Obama a couple months back, with less than three months to go one of McCain's top surrogates (and potential VP pick) Mitt Romney couldn't come up with one good thing on the "Maverick's" record....probably because he has been M.I.A. from his Senate job for months and months.

McCain Donors Raise Serious Suspicions

In the last few months, John McCain and the Republican National Committee have raised a hefty amount of money for his campaign efforts. Thanks to the RNC's ability to take in $28,500 per person, the Republican machine has largely caught up with Barack Obama's fund-raising prowess. However, there are some questions about where all that money is coming...and most importantly, how it is rolling in.

From The Washington Post:

The bundle of $2,300 and $4,600 checks that poured into Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign on March 12 came from an unlikely group of California donors: a mechanic from D&D Auto Repair in Whittier, the manager of Rite Aid Pharmacy No. 5727, the 30-something owners of the Twilight Hookah Lounge in Fullerton.

But the man who gathered checks from them is no stranger to McCain -- he shuttled the Republican on his private plane and held a fundraising event for the candidate at his house in Delray Beach, Fla.

Harry Sargeant III, a former naval officer and the owner of an oil-trading company that recently inked defense contracts potentially worth more than $1 billion, is the archetype of a modern presidential money man. The law forbids high-level supporters from writing huge checks, but with help from friends in the Middle East and the former chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit -- who now serves as a consultant to his company -- Sargeant has raised more than $100,000 for three presidential candidates from a collection of ordinary people, several of whom professed little interest in the outcome of the election.

It is possible that these people skimped and saved in order to give thousands of dollars to John McCain. The problems with that idea arise when common sense is interjected into the issue. Common sense says that something doesn't smell quite right. That is where the FEC should come in and investigate how people like Sargeant can convince a Hookah lounge owner to fork over the maximum donation allowed to John McCain.

When It Comes To Gas Prices, Narrow-Minded GOP Sees Only What They Want To Believe

When you want something and you wish really hard, it isn't the wishing but finding the willingness to take an action that gets you to your goal. Congressional Republicans seem to not have learned that lesson as children (or as adults) because they believe their collective whining on offshore oil drilling made gas prices drop.

From ThinkProgress:

House conservatives, engaging in a third day of political stunts on the floor of the House, are now claiming that gas prices across the nation have dropped in response to their theatrics calling for a vote on offshore oil drilling. “I think the market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) in a GOP press conference today.

Shadegg claimed that “gas prices have gone down” because of the “pressure” coming from pro-drilling conservatives:

Gas prices have gone down, and they’ve gone down in part because the market is realizing that this kind of pressure from the Congress may actually cause a change in American policy,” said Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), one of the ringleaders of the protest demanding that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) bring Congress back to vote on oil exploration measures.

But actual experts don’t believe the political stunts have anything to do with the drop in prices. In fact, oil and gas prices are down because of simple economics as the high energy prices and the weak economy are “curbing consumer demand” for gas.

The idiots in the GOP caucus have made themselves oblivious to the fact that Americans cannot afford the gas prices that Republican policies have created. Without a coherent, 21st century energy policy in the United States for several years now, our addiction to oil has crippled our economy even though many experts saw peak oil coming decades ago. Jimmy Carter knew what he was talking about in the 1970s, but the advent of the selfishly-driven policies stemming from Reagan destroyed those efforts. People didn't want to hear about the oncoming energy crisis (even though they got a taste of it at the time) but now it is here to stay. So Republicans can make believe that their grandstanding is reducing oil prices, but we need real leadership and a sound strategy to take the oil needle out of our vein.

Paris Hilton Responds To John McCain

I'm not a fan of Paris Hilton, but seeing this video she made in response to McCain's tasteless ad was priceless. She had me laughing with her, instead of my usual which is laughing at her the society that obsesses over her.

Detainees Still Guilty After Proven Innocent

Our nation has gone from endorsing the "innocent until proven guilty" motto to a more authoritarian "We'll imprison whoever the f*ck we want," especially so under the Bush Administration. If the Bushies don't give a rat's ass about the rule of law for their own crimes, why should it apply to the innocent that they just happen to not like (or those that they like to keep around as convenient boogeymen). Of course, they have a bullshit argument for keeping those proven innocent in jail.

From RawStory:

Some detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will likely never be released because of the danger they pose, and those tried and acquitted will still be subject to continued detention as enemy combatants, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.

Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, made the remarks as Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni, awaited a verdict in the first war crimes trial to be held under a special regime created for "war on terror" suspects.

Morrell said Hamdan, a former driver of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, could appeal the verdict in US courts.

"But in the near term, at least, we would consider him an enemy combatant and still a danger and would likely still be detained for some period of time thereafter," he said.

Morrell said there were plans for at least 20 more such trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba but he said a significant portion of the detainees being held there would neither be tried nor released.

Ah, how comforting does that make you feel? Basically the Pentagon (vis a vis the Bush Administration) is trying to set the precedent that they can detain anyone for whatever reason and not try them, shattering the laws our framers wrote for the Constitution. The only danger here is the fact that with the government we have now, Americans can kiss their liberties and rights goodbye.

City Tries To Shortchange Victim Of S.I. Ferry Crash

Five years ago the Staten Island ferry crashed into the pilings at the dock, killing 11 and injuring dozens. It was a terrible tragedy that while directly caused by the piloting of Andrew Barberi, the city was and is ultimately responsible. Now the subsequent lawsuits from the victims are still not settled, and in these harsh budgetary times, it seems that city is trying to axe some settlement money based on a statistic.

From The Gothamist:

Nearly five years after the Staten Island Ferry crash, victims are still fighting with the city over settlements. And in one case, the city claims James McMillan Jr., a 44-year-old who was paralyzed, will die in 16 years, not 30 years, so the settlement should only cover 16 years. He is under 24-hour-care and his lawyer said he'll live a long life with proper care, "The city paralyzed him, and now they're saying that he is going to die young because of the damage they caused. They're turning a personal-injury case into a wrongful-death case." A juries were recently selected for McMillan's case as well as the case of a crash victim who died.

What the city's lawyers so callously disregard is that while statistically victims like Mr. McMillan die around 60, if he wasn't injured on a city boat his life expectancy would be like any other New Yorker. It is sickening just to think that someone with authority in the city's lawyer brigade actually let this idea fly into the courtroom for all to see and hear. This is not a disputable case and therefore the victims deserve everything that the city owes them, based on a full-life that was robbed from each and every victim.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Surge Was A Failure And Here Is The Proof

John McCain and his Republican cheerleaders say the surge has worked in Baghdad. While our troops have done their best, the truth about the "peace" in Baghdad is much different from what George Bush tries to claim. This reporter went into Baghdad to see what life is really like in the city, and what he found is horrifying.

The Depths Wingers Go To..."Obama Kills Live Babies"

Fox News, always the network trying to be fair and balanced, invited wingnut swiftboater Jerome Corsi onto Fox and Friends today. Corsi believes (or pretends) that Obama has done every ghastly act that any decent human being can think of. To Corsi (and unfortunately those that read his book) Obama is black militant who is hiding a far left agenda who likes to kill live babies.....yes, live babies.

From RawStory:

Jerome Corsi, co-author of the book Unfit for Command which swiftboated John Kerry in 2004, has now leaped into the 2008 campaign with Obama Nation, a book which Media Matters finds "contains numerous falsehoods about Sen. Barack Obama."[...]

Corsi insisted that after an incident in Illinois where an infant had survived for 45 minutes following a late-term abortion, Obama had "said that woman had an absolute right to abortion, to kill the baby even if it survived that abortion."

"That is patently untrue," Beckel countered, to which Corsi replied, "You haven't looked at the case."

According to Seth Colter Walls, the "infanticide" charge against Obama stems from his "present" vote on a bill debated in Illinois in 2001 that "would have required that any 'viable' fetus surviving a late-term abortion receive sustaining medical care (something which opponents of that bill said was already required by a 1975 bill in the state)."

Media Matters further explains that Obama's "present" vote was the result of a deliberate strategy worked out in concern with Planned Parenthood:

"We at Planned Parenthood view those as leadership votes," Pam Sutherland, the president and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, told ABC News. "We worked with him specifically on his strategy. The Republicans were in control of the Illinois Senate at the time. They loved to hold votes on 'partial birth' and 'born alive'. They put these bills out all the time ... because they wanted to pigeonhole Democrats. ... He came to me and said: 'My members are being attacked. We need to figure out a way to protect members and to protect women.'"

For Corsi, protecting women is akin to desecrating the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. How dare anyone want to watch out for the health of American women. Perhaps Corsi would rather us go back to a time when women were treated as second class citizens without right to hold property, who were seen and not heard and basically were at the mercy of their men.

As Sutherland alluded to, this is merely a wedge issue to deflect voters from focusing on issues that truly affect them, such as legislation that protects workers more so than the corporations that stretch employees to their limits and then some.

McCain Tried To Enter His Wife Into A Topless Beauty Contest (I'm Not Kidding)

I swear if I made this up I'd be writing for some sort of All In The Family spin off, but no, its true, McCain offered a crowd of bikers his wife in a topless beauty contest. Forget the implications of women going up on stage to strut their stuff for thousands of drunk men, this place is a festering sewer that regularly results in several 'incidents' per event. It is so bad that there is a crisis center set up across the street. This is the type of crowd McCain feels at ease with, so comfortable in fact, that he joked about his wife entering a topless/bottomless beauty contest.

From DailyKos:

CNN has the details.

If there were any Obama supporters to be found in the vast Buffalo Chip campground, they kept quiet.

Indeed, McCain felt so comfortable at the event that he even volunteered his wife for the rally’s traditional beauty pageant, an infamously debauched event that’s been known to feature topless women.

"I encouraged Cindy to compete," McCain said to cheers. "I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip."

Say whuh?

That's right.

Let's read more about this 'beauty pageant' from ESPN.

Buffalo Chip has a reputation for that sort of thing. It holds a Miss Buffalo Chip contest every night, which is essentially a topless beauty pageant. And occasionally bottomless, too. During a drenching rain Wednesday night, the contest broke up into smaller groups and one woman wound up dancing naked on a bar top. Her boyfriend/husband saw her and angrily dragged her away as she struggled to put her pants back on and muttered something about how, "It's only this one week a year."

I laughed when I heard the guys at Buffalo Chip tell the story, but then I thought about the conversation I had with Pearl Gulbranson, who was working at the Crisis Intervention Center for domestic abuse, which is located in a house across the street from the Broken Spoke. Gather 500,000 people in one spot, feed them a lot of alcohol and there are bound to be some serious problems.

"We average three or four 'contacts' a night," Gulbranson said. "And a lot of women get abandoned here. They get left behind with no way of getting home. So we're here to help."

Rape culture, objectification of women, domestic violence, and raw misogyny. This is what John McCain thinks his own wife is worth.

If that is what you call Presidential material, then our country is seriously f*cked. And if Cindy McCain just stood up there and smiled for that horrendously display of machismo, then shame on her for even thinking about trying to be some sort of role model for 51% of Americans.

Forget 100 Years Or Even 16 Months, We Can Get Out Of Iraq In A Year

Dr. Lawrence Korb knows his stuff when it comes to our nation's military. Thankfully he decided to go to work for the Center for American Progress and not become another parrot for the Bush Administration. He has a plan that can get us out of Iraq in a year's time and while that may not be much less than sixteen months, it is still four less months where our soldiers run the risk of dying in a country they have no business being in.

Fox News Falls For A Finger Lickin' Hoax

Fox News, in their desperate attempt to show any sign of good news coming from Iraq, fell for a hoax of fried chicken proportions. Apparently there is a sign above a storefront in the war-torn city of Fallujah that has a picture of the Colonel next to the letters "KFC." So the *cough* journalists *cough* at Fox News decided to put it on the air, even getting a comment from General Tommy Franks. Yet, something about it just didn't add up and Talking Points Memo did the math.

From TPM:

Last Thursday, Fox News ran a brief segment on a KFC restaurant opening in Fallujah before segueing into an interview with former CENTCOM Commander Tommy Franks, who was asked to comment on the presence of an American fast food restaurant in the notoriously violent Iraqi city. "Do they have a drive-thru window?" Steve Doocy asks. "They get in and get out. And, so far, they do it safely," answers Brian Kilmeade.

Now, call us cynical, but something about that segment seemed off -- oddly upbeat even. On Friday I put in a call to KFC headquarters to ask if the Fallujah chicken joint is the real deal. KFC told me they were looking into the matter. Today, Yum! Restaurants International spokesman Christophe Lecureuil wrote me back:

I understand you wanted some details about the store in Falluja that looks like a KFC. This store is not approved by KFC International and we have working with the US Military to warn the troops of this situation.

Details are still hard to come by. Lecureuil said that the company doesn't have more information at this stage because "we've just started investigating the matter." Asked how KFC was working with the military, Lecureuil wrote only that: "Concerning the military, we have a long-standing and excellent relationship with them as we have quite a few KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut stores in military bases outside the US."

You'd think that those highly paid, qualified and journalism-degree-holding people at Fox News would check on the facts of the story by calling KFC's parent company before airing this (like TPM did). I guess "fair and balanced" doesn't exactly cover "getting the story straight" at Fox News, of course that isn't anything new over there when you have a running theme of glossing over the news coming out of Iraq for the last five or six years.

City Council Calls For Investigation Into NYPD Abuse Of Cyclists

As you would expect the sun to rise in the east and set in the west, I feel similarly about the NYPD's ability to hold their officers accountable for beating down cyclists that take part in the Critical Mass Bikerides. As we now know (or have known for a few years depending on what you read on the Internet) NYPD cops have lied in their statements regarding their behavior around innocent bicyclists. Outrage over the video that surfaced and contrasted with Officer Rogan's statement has been heard over at City Hall and now we are beginning to see some action from at least a few of our City representatives.

From Time's Up:

NEW YORK, NY (August 4, 2008) - City Council members join the chorus of outrage over the NYPD's continual harassment of Critical Mass cyclists. Earlier today, twelve city council members submitted a jointly signed letter to the Manhattan DA, Robert M Morgenthau, requesting that he drop the charges against Christopher Long and investigate the NYPD policies toward cyclists, specifically during Critical Mass rides. Christopher Long was thrown off his bicycle by police officer Patrick Pogan during the July 25th Critical Mass Ride.

The Internal Affairs Bureau is currently investigating Sergeant Timothy Horohoe for false official statements intentionally made to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) during an investigation of the arrests of cyclist and videographer Christian Guttierez, and photographer Jordan Groh while documenting police harassment of cyclists in Time's Square during the March 2007 Critical Mass ride.

The CCRB report also substantiated the charge that Sgt. Timothy Horohoe used physical force when Sgt. Horohoe pushed Richard Vazquez off his bike when Mr. Vazquez rode through Times Square on the March 2007 Critical Mass. The charges of physical force used by Sgt Horohoe are being investigated by the Department Advocate Office. The statute of limitations on penalizing Horohoe for the acts of March 30, 2007 is September 30, 2008.

"Critical Mass participants have been assaulted by a Lietuenant, a Sergeant and recently by a Rookie officer. And each assault has been documented on video. When officers lie with impunity to cover up their bad conduct, the CCRB says that filing of false information in official documents is not within their jurisdiction. Simply put, there is no official manner for civilians to hold bad apples accountable for wrongful police conduct and therefore, all civilians and all good police officers suffer", says Wylie Stecklow, lawyer for the complainants.

If the CCRB isn't going to do anything about police officers that lie to them, then there is a serious problem with the CCRB. DA Morganthau must act in this instance and fully investigate the NYPD. This isn't just a case of one bad cop, there is a possibility that this is a systemic problem and if there is such, it has to be dealt with appropriately. Whoever allowed for a culture that permits random acts of violence against cyclists needs to be at the very least fired. Of course for the cyclists to have justice and New York to have a police force that they can trust, the people in power who condone this behavior will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

McCain's Coded Messages To Racists

Why is McCain throwing more money into playing the controversial and widely panned ad that mentions Britney, Paris and Obama? It isn't for everyone, just for that segment of the white population that haven't gotten over that whole "civil rights era" legislation that largely put an end to institutional racism. The racism is still there under the surface and McCain knows how to exploit it.

Drill, Drill, Drill Or Get A Tune-Up

As I am going to the dentist in two hours, the word "drill" repeated several times over almost immediately has me searching for an alternative. Although this isn't about my teeth, it is about our nation's coastline and pristine wilderness. Republicans want to lease even more land so that oil companies can have "instant assets" by taking their new properties (c/o us, the taxpayers) and selling them on the market to increase their margins.

This really isn't about reducing the price of oil, no matter how many times Minority Leader Boehner threatens to shut down the government in order to achieve it. However, there is an easy way to get that supposed oil that drilling proponents claim will come with their idea. It is called conservation, but there's an easier way than that, as Barack Obama pointed out, just get your tires inflated and your car tuned up.

From Time Magazine:

How out of touch is Barack Obama? He's so out of touch that he suggested that if all Americans inflated their tires properly and took their cars for regular tune-ups, they could save as much oil as new offshore drilling would produce. Gleeful Republicans have made this their daily talking point; Rush Limbaugh is having a field day; and the Republican National Committee is sending tire gauges labeled "Barack Obama's Energy Plan" to Washington reporters.

But who's really out of touch? The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.

And as Time points out a few paragraphs below, conserving energy is easy as long as you get in the habit of doing so. Unplugging appliances, having low-energy bulbs, taking mass transit, all things that are good for your wallet and the environment simultaneously. So while the right makes fun of Obama for leading people to conserve and help our energy crisis in a multi-faceted way (of course wind and solar projects are on their way too), he actually has a plan, while McCain is offering someone $300 million for a battery.

Monday, August 04, 2008

KBR: No More Cries For Help From Our Rape Victims

Often times, justice and bad press get in the way of each other when it comes to the dealings of a large corporation that makes money off one of two of the big evil in the world. KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton recently was involved in such an episode when their "get your war on" culture just happened to result in the rape of Jamie Leigh Jones (one of several). The reason her story came to light was due to the goodwill of her guard to let her use his cellphone in order to call her family (while being locked inside a storage bin after telling her superiors about her ordeal). So how does KBR alleviate problems like this?

From The Seattle Examiner:

Defense contractor KBR Inc. said it has banned the sue of personal cell phones by its employees in Iraq for security reasons.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press on Saturday night, KBR spokeswoman Heather L. Browne confirmed the company had notified its employees in Iraq that use of personal cell phones is prohibited.

Browne said the decision was because of "a safety and security concern." She declined to elaborate, but did say KBR officials are reviewing the matter that led to the directive.

A safety and security concern? I wonder who's safety they are concerned about, their employees or their stock quote? Instead of working towards a solution that can put an end to a rape-permissive culture inside the war profiteering outfit, they chose to go the route of merely covering up for the criminals that lurk inside their company.

Forget Substance, Sunday Talk Talks About "Race"

Specifically, if John McCain is, or if Barack Obama is simply playing the race card. David Gergen seems to know whats up, but as for the other clowns on the circuit, fugheddabboudit!

Karma Visits Westboro Baptist Church

I am a believer in karma, meaning that good things come eventually to good people and vice-versa. Well there are some putrid excuses for life on our planet and one group in particular is the Westboro Baptist Church. If you do not know already, their mission in life is to go around to military funerals and protest, chanting that those that died fell because America "allows" homosexuality. So they hold signs that say "God Hates Fags," nice, eh? Well I hate to see tragedy strike anyone, but karma made me chuckle a bit when I saw this.

From PageOneQ:

Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, known for its vocal condemnations of homosexuality, website and picketing of gay pride parades and funerals, has sustained thousands of dollars in damage after a fire early Saturday morning. Impromptu protest followed as firefighters carried out their response.

"None of what they do is going to stop us from delivering our message," said church counsel Shirley Phelps-Roper of any "cowards" that would have set the fire on purpose, also saying that it was the "most aggressive act" towards the Phelps family to date.

"There is evidence that hatred of our religion was the motivation, in part at least," states a "Civil Rights Hate Crime Complaint" written by pastor Fred Phelps Sr. to Attorney General Michael Mukasey. In a recently released YouTube presentation, Phelps also blames law enforcement, judges, and the "filthy, fag-riddled military" for what he considers an assault on his First Amendment rights.

Ah, the hypocrisy of it all. First amendment right, meh! As long as they get their rights and those they disagree with are denied theirs, Fred Phelps is a happy, hate-loving man. Then the story ends with a neighborly dispute over who's land is who's. One side claims the other burnt the church on purpose and in the end the environment loses with an additional few pounds of carbon in the atmosphere. Unfortunately though, this fire will not stop the hate pouring out from this particular loony bin.

Romney Continues To Lie For McCain

Ah, Mittens Romney is up to no good again. In this run-up to the selection of VP running mates, the former Governor is trying hard to please Mr. McCain and on CNN, he delivered a doosey of a lie to make his man look good.

From ThinkProgress:

Today, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appeared on CNN’s American Morning to discuss an ad by Barack Obama that argues John McCain would give $4 billion in tax breaks to Big Oil. Romney declared the charge “dishonest” and “below the belt.” He claimed that McCain “doesn’t ask for any tax reduction for oil companies.”

There is nothing dishonest about pointing out the fact that McCain’s plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent would give nearly $4 billion in tax breaks to the six largest oil companies. Ensuring that corporations pay dramatically fewer taxes is an integral part of McCain’s regressive tax plan that skews its benefits heavily toward the wealthy and offers little for the poor and middle class.[...]

Just since McCain’s embrace of offshore drilling in June, donations to his campaign from the oil and gas industry have skyrocketed. He has received $881,450 in the last 6 weeks alone.

The McCain campaign may claim to “stand up” to the oil industry, but McCain’s own plans are the stuff of Big Oil’s dreams.

Perhaps because Romney is a multi-millionaire himself, he doesn't see stuff like this as a tax break but good fiscal planning and his and others like him god-given right. Why would this plan draw any ire from Romney when he has no clue as to the sentiments of the middle class, millions of Americans who he has no idea on how to relate to?

How Republicans Really Feel About Our Veterans

Instead of simply supporting a bill that helps fund our nation's veterans, the Republican caucus played games with our military by adding an amendment to the bill to pass a giveaway for the wealthy oil industry. When Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX) called them out on it, like little children they booed him on it....and subsequently the wishes of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Feingold And Whitehouse Try To Stand Senate Up Against The White House

Although George Bush had publicly wished that the United States was a dictatorship, he has certainly done his best to make that a reality. Signing statements, pushing for retroactive immunity and starting wars are all part of his legacy. The undermining of the Constitution and the country have not gone unnoticed, particularly by Senators Feingold and Whitehouse, who are now trying to do something about it, at least in this one regard.

From RawStory:

"No one disputes that a President can withdraw or revise an Executive Order at any time," Feingold said as he introduced the bill Thursday. "But abrogating a published Executive order without any public notice works a secret change in the law."

"Because the published Order stays on the books, it actively misleads Congress and the public as to what the law is," he said.

Feingold said the new bill would eliminate that problem by requiring a notice of any change within 30 days, though it "does not require the publication of any classified information."

"On rare occasions, national security can justify elected officials keeping some information secret," he said, "but it can never justify lying to the American people about what the law is. Maintaining two different sets of laws, one public and one secret, is just that -- deceiving the American people about what law applies to the government's conduct."

Oh Senator Feingold, don't you realize that lying to the American people is what George Bush does best? This is a good step on Senator Whitehouse and your part, but we'll see if the full Senate actually approves it and dares to show some sort of spine in front of the President. One thing is for sure, Republicans won't go along with it, and that means either it won't make it to the President or even if it does, he won't sign it (duh) and a veto override would be impossible.

Sometimes Being A Big GOP Donor Isn't Enough

The recent update on the U.S. Attorney scandal revealed that Monica Goodling did indeed break the law numerous times by using political factors to determine who would and wouldn't be good candidates for the office. Being a good loyal Republican was key to the process, but even some of those didn't make the cut.

From The Times-Union:

The IG report discusses how the Bush White House tried to get favorites appointed to lifetime posts as immigration judges, and reached out to friends in New York. One passage deals with a judge candidate from New York recommended by an unnamed congressman in June 2005.

The congressman's staff gave the candidate's qualifications to the White House as "great Republican" and "long time donor to the local GOP." The "local" Republican Party officials said they could vouch for the candidate, whose name was forwarded for an interview, according to the report.

The New York Republican nominee -- also unnamed, alas -- didn't score well.

"The candidate's conduct during his ... interview causes us to question whether he possesses the appropriate judicial temperament and demeanor to serve as an immigration judge," a Bush administration e-mail quoted in the report says. "The candidate used profanity during the interview, acted abrasively, and when asked what his greatest weakness was, responded 'blondes.' "

Perhaps Bush's minions saw what this guy said and had at least a few principles left to realize that maybe this guy wouldn't be the most impartial of judges....and godforbid a possible terrost wear a blonde wig, we might have all been in serious trouble. Now I wonder who might this judicial candidate might have been?

Lieberman Gung-Ho For Speaking At GOP Convention

Joe Lieberman and his staff have denied he's attending the RNC convention in Minneapolis a month from now. That denial was issued last week, but if you saw him on the Meet the Press yesterday, you can see Joe changes his tune quite quickly:

MTA Prez: Don't Expect Anything From Us

You don't have to tell straphangers that things down below in the subways of New York City are under par. Though MTA President Howard Roberts did just that....and more in an interview yesterday with the Post (hoping that not as many Post readers travel on the subway on Sunday perhaps?). He fessed up to the dire conditions and the fact that even two fare increases on the near horizon wouldn't do the trick. Well, maybe this is rare bit of honesty from a MTA admin.

From The NY Post:

"There's not anything out there that anybody is very proud of," NYC Transit President Howard Roberts Jr. told The Post in a wide-ranging interview about the fundamental problems plaguing the city's 468 subway stations as the agency slashes its budget and talks about raising fares twice more in the coming three years.[...]

With the MTA reporting a steep decline in revenue, especially at bridges and tunnels, straphangers won't see any improvements. The two proposed fare hikes, Roberts said, would "only maintain the status quo."

"For years, they slashed station cleaning, and they slashed station maintenance," Roberts said of his predecessors at NYC Transit, who he said were forced into the cuts.

"It created issues."

Issues? Ya think?

Well, to Mr. Roberts credit, there is one good thing coming soon for the millions who ride the MTA, as long as they have a cellphone that is. Now we'll at least know ahead of time when the trains are going to completely fail and not as many people will be stifling in the heat of a crowded platform, waiting hopelessly for a train that isn't coming. Fixing that problem will cost way more than $600K