Saturday, September 30, 2006

Legislating Violations of the Constitution

WaPo: "With little public attention or even notice, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that undermines enforcement of the First Amendment's separation of church and state. The Public Expression of Religion Act - H.R. 2679 - provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion."

Friday, September 29, 2006

The movies stink, so we're closed. Go see `Jackass 2' somewhere else.

Chicago Tribune
: "HOOPESTON, Ill. --
The 'closed' sign went up a few weeks ago on the flashy neon marquee outside the Lorraine Theatre, but the 84-year-old movie palace on Main Street hasn't played its last picture show. Business isn't bad. It's the movies that are wretched.
'Both theaters in Hoopeston are closed ... because of such poor film choices available,' explains a recording on the Lorraine's customer hot line. 'Go to Danville to see `Jackass 2.''
Car dealers wouldn't tell buyers to take a hike until better models came out. No chef worth his ladle would shoo paying diners off to the competition because his kitchen is in a slump. Yet that's essentially what Lorraine owner Greg Boardman did this month.
He put his two screens here on hiatus rather than sell tickets to the gross-out and freak-out fare he said Hollywood distributors have made available in recent weeks. Boardman said he'd rather show nothing than such recent offerings as 'Beerfest,' 'The Covenant' or the 'Jackass' sequel, which topped the nation's box office last week despite getting savagely panned by critics. A Tribune review labeled it 'an insult to sophomoric movies everywhere.'
'There's just so much lousy material out there--people vomiting on the screen,' explained Boardman, 52, a local boy who now lives in California and uses the Internet to run the Lorraine from there. 'I have one of the finest sound systems in the world, and I don't want to waste it on such drivel.'"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sickening 'Animal Olympics' forces kangaroos to box humans

Welcome to goComics Web Site featuring Ann Telnaes - Online Comics, Editorial Cartoons, Email Comics, Political Cartoons

Ann Telnaes

Dan Froomkin - Bush Rules -

Today's Senate vote on President Bush's detainee legislation, after House approval yesterday, marks a defining moment for this nation.How far from our historic and Constitutional values are we willing to stray? How mercilessly are we willing to treat those we suspect to be our enemies? How much raw, unchecked power are we willing to hand over to the executive?The legislation before the Senate today would ban torture, but let Bush define it; would allow the president to imprison indefinitely anyone he decides falls under a wide-ranging new definition of unlawful combatant; would suspend the Great Writ of habeas corpus; would immunize retroactively those who may have engaged in torture. And that's just for starters.It's a red-letter day for the country. It's also a telling day for our political system.The people have lost confidence in their president. Despite that small recent uptick in the polls, Bush remains deeply unpopular with the American public, mistrusted by a majority, widely considered out of touch with the nation's real priorities.But he's still got Congress wrapped around his little finger.Today's vote will show more clearly than ever before that, when push comes to shove, the Republicans who control Congress are in lock step behind the president, and the Democrats -- who could block him, if they chose to do so -- are too afraid to put up a real fight.The kind of emotionless, he-said-she-said news coverage, lacking analysis and obsessed with incremental developments and political posturing -- in short, much of modern political journalism -- just doesn't do this story justice.So once again, I'll go to the editorials and opinions first.
Read on...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dan Froomkin - Bush's Imaginary Foes -

President Bush's angry nonanswers to two straightforward questions yesterday were among the best illustrations yet of his intense aversion to responding to his critics' actual arguments.Rather than acknowledge and attempt to rebut the many concerns about his policies, Bush makes up inane arguments and then ridicules them.Here's the transcript of Bush's appearance yesterday alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai.Let's take a close look at the president's answers to two questions. I've highlighted key passages:'Q Thank you, sir. Even after hearing that one of the major conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate in April was that the Iraq war has fueled terror growth around the world, why have you continued to say that the Iraq war has made this country safer?''PRESIDENT BUSH: I, of course, read the key judgments on the NIE. I agree with their conclusion that because of our successes against the leadership of al Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent. I'm not surprised the enemy is exploiting the situation in Iraq and using it as a propaganda tool to try to recruit more people to their -- to their murderous ways.'Some people have guessed what's in the report and have concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree. I think it's naive. I think it's a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe.'OK, that's straw-man number one. Nobody I've heard of is suggesting that going on the offense against terrorists is bad. The question at hand is whether going on the offense against Iraq -- which had nothing to do with 9/11 -- made us less safe. By using this absurd straw-man, Bush leaves that issue unaddressed.
Bush: " The terrorists fight us in Iraq for a reason : They want to try to stop a young democracy from developing, just like they're trying to fight another young democracy in Afghanistan. And they use it as a recruitment tool, because they understand the stakes. They understand what will happen to them when we defeat them in Iraq."

Here, Bush makes it sound like the fight in Iraq is between the United States and terrorists. But of course the vast majority of fighting is now sectarian in nature, with U.S. troops caught in the middle.

Bush: "You know, to suggest that if we weren't in Iraq, we would see a rosier scenario with fewer extremists joining the radical movement requires us to ignore 20 years of experience."

Here, Bush paraphrases his critics somewhat accurately. But his ensuing argument is bizarre.

Bush: " We weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th. We weren't in Iraq, and thousands of fighters were trained in terror camps inside your country, Mr. President. We weren't in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. We weren't in Iraq when they bombed the Cole. We weren't in Iraq when they blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. "

David E. Sanger addresses that one in the New York Times this morning -- in the last two paragraphs of his story: "Mr. Bush has grown increasingly insistent that nothing he has done in Iraq has worsened terrorism. America was not in Iraq during the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, he said, or during the bombings of the U.S.S. Cole or embassies in Africa, or on 9/11.

"But that argument steps around the implicit question raised by the intelligence finding: whether postponing the confrontation with Saddam Hussein and focusing instead on securing Afghanistan, or dealing with issues like Iran's nascent nuclear capability or the Middle East peace process, might have created a different playing field, one in which jihadists were deprived of daily images of carnage in Iraq to rally their sympathizers."

And yet Sanger is being too gentle, because this is perhaps the ultimate Bush straw-man argument, this one so absurd is almost defies description.

No one is suggesting that the invasion of Iraq was responsible for terrorist act that predate that invasion! The argument is that invading Iraq has made the threat of terrorism since then worse than it otherwise would have been. Reciting past terrorist acts is almost laughably nonresponsive. And yet it's a staple of Bush's argument. Let's return to the transcript:

Bush: " My judgment is, if we weren't in Iraq, they'd find some other excuse, because they have ambitions. "

But was it a mistake to give them such a powerful and motivating excuse? Bush won't address that one.

Bush: "They kill in order to achieve their objectives. You know, in the past, Osama bin Laden used Somalia as an excuse for people to join his jihadist movement. In the past, they used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was a convenient way to try to recruit people to their jihadist movement. They've used all kinds of excuses.

"This government is going to do whatever it takes to protect this homeland. We're not going to let their excuses stop us from staying on the offense. The best way to protect America is defeat these killers overseas so we do not have to face them here at home. We're not going to let lies and propaganda by the enemy dictate how we win this war."

And here, of course, Bush is planting the idea that his critics -- whose arguments he has refused to face head on -- are succumbing to the lies and propaganda of the enemy.

Later, Bush was asked this question:

"Q Thank you, Mr. President. Former President Clinton says that your administration had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after he left office. Is that factually accurate, and how do you respond to his charges?"

This time, Bush simply refused to answer at all.

"PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, look, Caren, I've watched all this finger-pointing and naming of names, and all that stuff. Our objective is to secure the country. And we've had investigations, we had the 9/11 Commission, we had the look back this, we've had the look back that. The American people need to know that we spend all our time doing everything that we can to protect them. So I'm not going to comment on other comments."

But he used the question as a springboard to some familiar talking points -- and some more straw men.

Bush: "But I will comment on this -- that we're on the offense against an enemy that wants to do us harm. And we must have the tools necessary to protect our country. On the one hand, if al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates are calling somebody in the country, we need to know why. "

For the record, Bush's critics are not suggesting that the U.S. shouldn't eavesdrop on suspected terrorists. They are simply suggesting that he get warrants to do so. And when they ask him why he can't achieve his goals within the law, he refuses to explain.

Bush: "And so Congress needs to pass that piece of legislation. If somebody has got information about a potential attack, we need to be able to ask that person some questions. And so Congress has got to pass that piece of legislation.

"You can't protect America unless we give those people on the front lines of protecting this country the tools necessary to do so within the Constitution. And that's where the debate is here in the United States. There are some decent people who don't believe -- evidently don't believe we're at war, and therefore, shouldn't give the administration what is necessary to protect us. "

But of course that's not where the debate is in Washington. Bush's critics acknowledge the battle against terrorists and want to give him the tools to win it. The debate is over how to conduct the war, and how to provide the executive branch with the necessary tools without violating the law and the Constitution.

Bush: "And that goes back to Jennifer's question, you know. Does being on the offense mean we create terrorists? My judgment is the only way to defend the country is to stay on the offense. It is preposterous to think if we were to withdraw and hope for the best, things would turn out fine against this enemy. "

And here, Bush muddles the distinction between Iraq and the global war on terror to suggest that those who advocate a withdrawal from Iraq -- a majority of the American public -- are also advocating a surrender to terrorists.

What's even more astonishing than the fact that the president makes a mockery of legitimate criticism rather than confront it is the fact that the press corps routinely lets him get away with it. Aside from a few paragraphs here and there, like those from the Sanger story above, most reporters quoted Bush's statements without putting them in the appropriate context.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Just A Comma: Dog Whistle Politics

The Agonist: "A lot of people have been slamming Bush for his comment that Iraq is 'just a comma'. As an e-mail correspondent pointed out, this is another case where Bush is using code words to speak directly to his Christian right base.
The phrase is: 'Never put a period where God has put a comma.' Which is to say - it ain't over yet, and God may well make it better. So Iraq's bad, but if we trust in God, he'll make it better.
This is the thing about Bush - he is constantly littering his speeches with code words and phrases meant for the religious right. Other people don't hear them, but they do, and most of the time it allows Bush both to say what those who aren't evangelical or born again want to hear, while still reassuring the religious right wants to hear.
For example, one of the most famous episodes of this was Bush's reference in the 2004 debates to the Dred Scott decision. Most people couldn't figure out what the heck he was talking about - it seemed like a non-sequitur. But, as Paperwight pointed out at the time, anti-abortion activists see themselves as similar to anti-slavery activists. And they take heart that eventually Dred Scott v. Sandford was overthrown.
So when asked about Supreme Court justices, Bush was reassuring his base that he would appoint justices prone to overturn Roe vs. Wade. And as far as that goes, both Roberts and Alito are very likely to do so.
The other name for this is dog whistle politics. When you blow a dog whistle humans can't hear it, but the dogs sure can. It's a pitch higher than humans can hear. When you speak in code like this, most of the time the only people who hear and understand what you just said are the intended group, who have an understanding of the world and a use of words that is not shared by the majority of the population. So it allows you to send out two messages at once - one pitched for the majority of Americans, the other pitched for a subgroup. This goes on all the time, and usually it isn't caught - most people don't hear it, and the media is made up of people who can't make the connections because they don't belong to these subgroups. So they can't point out the subtext either.
It's very effective, and it's one reason why Bush still has his hard core of support - he's constantly reassuring them, at a pitch the rest of us can't hear."

E. J. Dionne Jr. - No Silent Majority for Bush

What could prove to be the most important factor in the 2006 elections is overlooked because it is unseen: The Republicans cannot try to curry favor with a 'silent majority' that favors the Iraq war because a majority of Americans, both vocal and quiet, have come to see the war as a mistake.President Bush's defenders have cast opponents of the war as weak on terrorism. Yesterday, Vice President Cheney accused Democrats of 'resignation and defeatism.' But the charges have not taken hold, because most Americans don't agree with the premise linking the war on terror with the war in Iraq.
What could prove to be the most important factor in the 2006 elections is overlooked because it is unseen: The Republicans cannot try to curry favor with a 'silent majority' that favors the Iraq war because a majority of Americans, both vocal and quiet, have come to see the war as a mistake.And blame for the failures in Iraq has fallen not on some liberal coterie supposedly holding our generals back but on the choices of civilians in a conservative administration. Those civilians, and their allies outside the administration, find themselves under increasing fire from leaders of the military and the intelligence services for bad planning, flawed analysis and unrealistic expectations.
Moreover, the tone of the opposition to this war is quite different from the tenor of some sections of the movement against the Vietnam War. Reaction to "hippie protesters," as the phrase went, allowed President Richard Nixon to pit a hardworking, patriotic "silent majority" -- it was one of the most politically potent phrases of his presidency -- against the privileged, the young and the media, whom his vice president Spiro Agnew memorably characterized as "effete snobs" and "nattering nabobs of negativism."

As the historian and Nixon biographer Stephen Ambrose noted, tiny minorities -- "they numbered less than 1 percent of the demonstrators," he wrote of a 1969 rally -- "waved Viet Cong flags . . . and even burned American flags" and served as "magnets to the television cameras." They were used to exemplify an entire movement.

By contrast, critics of the Iraq war, deeply influenced by the post-Sept. 11 climate of national solidarity, have been resolutely patriotic and pro-military. They have often chastised the administration for offering American troops too little in the way of body armor and armored vehicles, and for shortchanging veterans.

Among the most visible critics of the administration's approach have been generals, vets, parents with sons and daughters in the military, and foreign policy realists who think of themselves as moderate or even conservative opponents of what they see as the administration's radical direction.

That is why news over the weekend of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is especially troublesome for Republican electoral chances. By finding that the war in Iraq has encouraged global terrorism and spawned a new generation of Islamic radicals, the report by 16 government intelligence services undercuts the administration's central argument that the Iraq war has made the United States safer.

Nor is there any way to dismiss the assessment as partisan, left-wing or unpatriotic. That high-level government officials have offered their own criticisms of the war's impact makes it difficult for Republicans to force the argument into a classic "he said-she said" framework in which facts can be set aside and the claims of critics dismissed as political.

It is no wonder that the administration immediately insisted that news reports were "not representative of the complete document," in the words of a White House spokesman. The phrase was a classic instance of the non-denial denial, a defensive response from an administration that has tried, with some success, to remain on offense on the terrorism issue all month.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

They paved paradise...

Olympic hope
An aerial photograph shows Washington Park in Chicago, on Wednesday. Washington Park is the proposed site for the temporary Olympic stadium in the latest plan. It would be converted afterward for other uses.

*Thoughts on all this? Just seeing this picture, and reading about how they wanted to build here, disturbs me greatly.

Five Tips to Increase Your Likeability

Being likeable isn’t required in order to achieve the position or job of your dreams, but it helps. When other people are on your side providing you with encouragement, helpful tips, and even free resources, it can greatly increase the chances of success in your chosen field and in life. Many times, it is not what you know but who you know.

While the listing below may seem to be cursory and easy to implement, they are not. It is difficult to make real and permanent changes in your personality. The process of becoming an exceptionally likeable individual takes years. Do not let that intimidate you, however. Remember: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Likeability, like drawing, writing or golf, is something which must be practiced.

1. Be positive.
2. Control your insecurities.
3. Provide value.
4. Eliminate all judgments.
5. Become a person of conviction.

Chavez Calls Bush 'the Devil' in U.N. Speech

New York Times"President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela bitterly and sarcastically assailed President Bush before the United Nations General Assembly today, portraying Mr. Bush as “the devil” who thinks he is “the owner of the world.”
“Yesterday, the devil came here,” Mr. Chávez said, alluding to Mr. Bush’s appearance before the General Assembly on Tuesday. “Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.”
Then Mr. Chávez made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if in prayer and glanced toward the ceiling.
The moment may not become as famous as Nikita Khrushchev’s finger-wagging, shoe-thumping outbursts in the General Assembly in the cold-war era, but it still produced chuckles and some applause in the assembly hall."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tea-Bag Mail Protest Worries Post Office

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Illinois' lieutenant governor is urging people to mail tea bags to two electric utilities to protest rate increases - an idea that leaves the post office cold.
The Postal Service on Wednesday encouraged people to make their point instead with empty tea bags, saying lumpy bags could harm its equipment and create security scares by leaking brown residue.
"It's absolutely legal for people to mail a tea bag," said David Colen of the Chicago division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, a law-enforcement arm of the agency. "By no means are we trying to stop what the lieutenant governor is trying to do. We just want to keep the mail flowing."
On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn urged residents of his state to include tea bags with their electric bills in the spirit of the Boston Tea Party. After the post office objected, Quinn's office said ratepayers could send just a picture of a tea bag.
Utility officials announced last week that electricity rates next year will increase an average of about 22 percent for ComEd customers and 40 percent to 55 percent for customers of St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. (AEE) ComEd, a division of Chicago-based Exelon Corp. (EXC), and Ameren together serve 4.9 million customers in Illinois.
Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris discouraged even empty tea bags. He said they could slow the utility's processing of customers' bills

* Pat Quinn, God love em'. Met him once, he's quite the fireball. I love the idea and I am doing it! I encourage all me fellow Thieves to do the same. Shit, these companies are gonna have 50 percent more cash flow, I don't think the slow down in bill processing can harm em that much!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

'Save My Wife'

New York Times: "Prudence Lemokouno was lying motionless on a bed in the bleak hospital here, her stomach swelled with a fetus that had just died, her eyes occasionally flickering with fright but mostly dull and empty.
Dr. Pascal Pipi, the lone doctor in the public hospital, said she had a few more hours to live, and then she would join the half-million women a year who die around the world in pregnancy and childbirth.
Her husband, Alain Awona, was beside himself. “Save my wife,” he pleaded. “My baby is dead. Save my wife.”
In the spring, I held a contest to choose a student to take with me on a reporting trip to Africa, and now I’m on that trip with the winner, Casey Parks of Mississippi. I had wanted to introduce Casey to the catastrophic problem of maternal mortality in the developing world, because it should be an international scandal that the number of women dying in pregnancy worldwide has been stuck at a half-million for a quarter-century.
Indeed, here in Cameroon the maternal mortality rate has risen since 1998, and over all an African woman now has one chance in 20 of dying in pregnancy. In much of the world, the most dangerous thing a woman can do is to become pregnant.
When we arrived on Friday at the hospital here in the remote southeastern corner of Cameroon, we found Prudence dying for the reason that usually accounts for maternal death — a complicated childbirth with no emergency obstetric service available."

Bush tells us "It's unacceptable to think"

Olbermann: “The President of the United States owes this country an apology”
Keith Olbermann delivered another stunning special comment tonight, this time attacking Bushs Rose Garden press conference from last Friday. WATCH THE VIDEO!
Video - WMV�� Video - QT�
Olbermann: Finally tonight, a Special Comment about the Rose Garden news conference last Friday. The President of the United States owes this country an apology.There are now none around him who would tell him - or could. The last of them, it appears, was the very man whose letter provoked the President into the conduct, for which the apology is essential. An apology is this President%u2019s only hope of regaining the slightest measure of confidence, of what has been, for nearly two years, a clear majority of his people.
Rough transcript below the fold. "

Amy Goodman in Chicago, September 20

Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman, host of the daily, grassroots, global, radio/TV news hour Democracy Now!, is on a national speaking tour to mark DN!'s 10th anniversary and launch her second book with journalist David Goodman, Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back.

WHERE: Leverone Hall, 2001 Sheridan Rd - Northwestern University, Evanston Campus (just east of Foster St. and Sheridan Rd.)

WHEN: Weds 9/20/06, 5:30 PM NOTE TIME CHANGE

DESCRIPTION: Chicago Media Action and North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice (NSCPJ) present:
A public educational forum with guest speakers Amy Goodman and David Goodman

TICKETS: Donations accepted

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Oldest Writing In North America?

Writing that is 3000 years old in a language not known before now has been found on a stone in Mexico. 'Scholars are tantalized by a message in stone in a script unlike any other and a text they cannot read. They are excited by the prospect of finding more of this writing, and eventually deciphering it, to crack open a window on one of the most enigmatic ancient civilizations...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bush Says Capturing Bin Laden Is Not A Top Priority Use of American Resources

Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes appeared on Fox this morning to discuss his recent meeting with President Bush in the Oval Office. The key takeaway for Barnes was that “bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.” Barnes said that Bush told him capturing bin Laden is “not a top priority use of American resources.”

Watch the clip, clink the link.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mayor plays race card at veto rally

"Mayor Daley played the race card today at a revival-style rally to marshal support for his historic veto of an ordinance requiring “big box” retailers to pay their employees at least $13-an-hour in wages and benefits by 2010.

“Not one person objected to any type of store in the suburban area. No one said, `Mayor, you’re wrong.’ No one said aldermen are wrong. No one said community or church leaders [are wrong]. Only on the West Side. Only on the South Side,” Daley told cheering supporters at 119th and Marshfield, the vacant site of a Target store placed on hold after the City Council’s 35-to-14 vote in favor of the minimum wage ordinance.

“It was alright for the North and Southwest Side to get the big boxes before this. No one said anything. All the sudden, when we talk about economic development in the black community, there’s something wrong there…..It’s alright for people to say development belongs in the suburban area. You have to go to get a job there. You have to drive to shop there. That’s alright. This is what we’re talking about.”

One day after vetoing the big box ordinance and finding the crossover votes he needs to sustain it, Daley got a hero’s welcome from business, religious and community leaders crowded under a tent in the middle of a muddy, 32-acre site, he said would “stand empty” if the minimum wage is allowed to stand.

“I’m gonna put lipstick on him and then [the mayor’s wife] Maggie is gonna want to know where it come from and then, I’m gonna be in a mess,” said a euphoric Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), whose ward includes the 119th and Marshfield site."


New York Post : "September 12, 2006 --
Two ex-waitresses at a trendy East Side bar are serving up a heavy-duty, $15 million sex-harassment lawsuit, accusing their former bosses of ordering female employees to be weighed as part of a bizarre scheme to keep tabs on their poundage. 'They told me I needed to get on the scale,' said one of the women, Kristen McRedmond, about her humiliating experience in a manager's office at Sutton Place Bar and Restaurant in July. 'I told them I'm not going to be part of your sick game,' recalled McRedmond, 27, who said she physically resisted when a beefy manager tried to pick her up to get her on the scale while another manager looked on. 'I just felt so violated.' McRedmond and fellow former Sutton Place waitress Alexandria Lipton, 25, both said the scale episode came a few weeks after a top manager at the Second Avenue watering hole had walked around with pen and pad in hand demanding to know how much all the waitresses weighed so he could record the results. 'The manager, Neil, came over to me and asked me how much I weigh. I said, 'I don't know.' He looks me up and down, and he goes, '135' . . . Then he writes down my weight,' Lipton said. Both women said only female workers were singled out for the weigh-ins and questions about their weight, and that it was done without explanation. And they claim the managers would criticize waitresses - but not waiters - for ordering fatty fried food for their own dinners."

Friday, September 08, 2006

American Roadster

The American Roadster™ by Eco-Fueler Is The Most Revolutionary Vehicle Since The Model A Ford.
Revolutionary Technology that is now ready for the public.
70 mpg

700 miles for $7.00 (Drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco for about $4.00)

0 to 60 in 5 seconds

Runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
The Roadster is a 70 mile per gallon vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas which costs you only 62¢ to 92¢ per gallon (compared to the ever escalating gasoline that is forecast to go above $3.00 per gallon). And now the Federal Government has given automakers 3 more years to raise the economy performance of vehicles only 3 miles per gallon!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lionel Richie gets the skinny on Nicole's weight

“I live with the constant fear that Nicole is going to become the next Princess Diana,” Said Lionel Richie, concerning his daughters plight with the paparazzi.

... his inner conscience then added, Oh ya, except for the fact that no one cares, and she hasn't done a thing to better humanity. Small factors nonetheless, but whats that gotta do with it when your as skinny and beautiful as Nichole Richie, check out that rack for god's sake?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Privacy Fears Shock Facebook

Wired News: "Millions of people have flocked to social networking sites to post information about themselves and share it with friends.
Now Facebook, one of the most popular, is facing a user backlash over a recent redesign that some critics say goes too far in exposing their lives.
Since Tuesday, tens of thousands of Facebook's estimated 9 million users have revolted against newly added News Feeds and Mini-Feed features that track and publish changes on the site. For example, the feeds notify users when their friends post new photos.
Angry users blasted the features in forums and public blogs as 'creepy' and 'too stalker-esque' -- even though all of the information displayed in the News Feeds is available elsewhere and no private information is being shared. An online petition protesting the changes already has over 55,000 signatures. There is even a Facebook boycott scheduled for September 12.
'I think the thing that was overlooked was how the users themselves would react to the news feeds,' says student and blogger Kiyoshi Martinez, a critic of the changes who is organizing protests through, a community action site. 'From what I've read, the Facebook community wants to have more control over how they use News Feeds, and there wasn't any discussion about that prior to the changes.'
The outcry suggests the exhibitionism and voyeurism implied by participation in social networking sites has ill-defined but nonetheless real limits, and expectations of privacy have somehow survived the publishing free-for-all. For many people, apparently, pushing information to everyone on a friends list is not at all the same as publishing the same information on one's own page for those people to find."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric

Way to go Ms. Couric. Bravo to you for proving me wrong. I thought your newscast would bring intelligent debate back to the American living room. I thought, given your past record from the Today Show, that reporting on cupcakes and lollipops was a thing of your past. You have a more mature news audience with more concern for the state of the world. You have a great opportunity to make a name for yourself, a legacy, and you have the power for change. You were handed a torch burning ever so brightly. Instead, as should have been evident with the amount of advertising dollars CBS spent on promoting and photoshopping you, you report on baby Suri. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes new baby. Way to go, what a great scoop!


Monday, September 04, 2006

Aspiring 'Biotown' Gets Visit From CSNY

Tour buses carrying members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young stopped in a northern Indiana town to support turning it into 'Biotown USA.'
The rock group, whose touring vehicles have used alternative fuels for six years, made a detour Saturday on their Freedom of Speech '06 tour to visit the town.
The buses pulled into a new gasoline station in Reynolds that sells alternative fuels and filled up on B-20 - a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel fuel. Footage was shot during the stop for a VH1 documentary.
'This is a beginning, a start,' Graham Nash said. 'Someone has to lead us out of this dark hole of dependence on foreign oil.'
Bandmate David Crosby agreed.
'I think it's much better to produce our fuel here and give our money to American farmers then it is to send it to Saudi Arabia where they don't even like us,' Crosby said.
State officials hope to break ground in November on a $10 million 'technology suite,' a privately funded center that will house equipment needed to turn everything from municipal trash to farm waste, hog manure and even town sewage into energy.

Missile Fired at Sen. John McCain's Helicopter

The Republic of Georgia's defense minister said he was aboard a helicopter that came under fire as it flew over the separatist province of South Ossetia. He said the aircraft was damaged but nobody was hurt, and they landed safely in Georgian-controlled territory.

Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili spoke hours after South Ossetian officials said their forces shot down a Georgian government helicopter Sunday that had invaded the breakaway region's airspace. Georgian military officials swiftly denied it was shot down.

Georgia's Interior Ministry also said Sunday that in a similar incident last week a surface-to-air missile was fired at a helicopter escorting a U.S. Senate delegation led by Sen. John McCain. The aircraft was not damaged and U.S. authorities had been notified, the ministry said.

'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin killed

BBC NEWS : "Australian environmentalist and television personality Steve Irwin has died during a diving accident.
Mr Irwin, 44, was killed by a stingray barb to the chest while he was filming an underwater documentary in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.
Paramedics from the nearby city of Cairns rushed to treat him at the scene but were unable to save him.
Mr Irwin was known for his television show The Crocodile Hunter and his work with native Australian wildlife."