Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lohan for President

Since when in this country has it been a big deal to get a DUI? Or party too much? As soon as we invented cars we invented drunk driving. I'm not trying to condone it in any way, shape or form. All I'm saying is that Lindsay Lohan didn't exactly re-invent the wheel (and then roll home on it after a club).

No, her only problem is that she's in L.A. She needs to relocate to a town of 20,000 or less and she'd fit right in. In a small town, your first DUI is practically a badge of honor. It's an f-in miracle almost to make it to 21 without some sort of ticket under your belt. Granted, its more like Sara Smith driving her dad's Hyundai into a parked car on 5th St., rather than Lindsay Lohan hopping a curb over on Sunset. But you know what? Same damn thing. Does Sara Smith go to rehab? No. She might get the keys taken away from her and be on probation for a few months, and the mom's around town will have someone new to focus their gossip on. That's it. End of story.

But the way the media is spinning this, Lindsay Lohan is some sort of national threat. The moral authority are marching on blogs and talk shows and burning Freaky Friday posters. Well, I have a little reminder for them. Remember everyone's good buddy, George W.? He's had a DUI. He drove his car into a ditch when he was 30 years old. The link below has a copy of his arrest record. Hell, Dick Cheney's had 2 DUI's! Not to mention the fact that its practically an open secret that George W. had a coke problem, and you can quickly see the similiarities with him and Lohan build up.

In other words, the girl is fine. Maybe Lindsay Lohan just needs to move to a small town with all the other kids who didn't go to college. And hell, her future's still bright - she could still run for President under the standards set by George. In fact, she has ten more years of good partying in front of her in that case. As long as she discovers Jesus after that, her slate will be wiped clean and forgiven by all. Right?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Daily Kos: "Good Riddance Attention Whore"

Daily Kos: "Good Riddance Attention Whore"


By CindySheehan

Mon May 28, 2007 at 09:57:01 AM PDT

I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground. Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance" are some of the more milder rebukes.

CindySheehan's diary :: ::
I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an "attention whore" then I really need to be committed. I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others. I have spent every available cent I got from the money a "grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then, our children’s children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.

Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford , Texas ? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too...which makes the property even more valuable.

This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

Veteran ,Michael Graham, wrote on Memorial Day:

What most liberals have so far failed to understand — because they tend to be people with kind hearts and sensibilities — is that the Republican Party has been commandeered by Nazis. They are not just the opposition party anymore, they are evil. This has been building for years, and I have been alive long enough to have witnessed much of it. There was the John Birch Society, and Watergate, and Iran-Contra and now this.

As a veteran, Memorial Day takes on increasing importance to me every year. That's probably because the shit goes on and on. Twice in my lifetime I have seen our leaders betray the nation and especially the war-fighters by concocting phony reasons for wars of occupation — wars that were doomed to failure because they were wars of occupation. What they can't understand, these armchair heroes, is that the Injuns shoot back. It happened at Little Big Horn, it happened in Vietnam and it's happening now.

I mean, for Christ's sake, if there were a foreign army kicking down doors in LA, we'd all be fucking insurgents. Duh!

And I need to remind my progressive friends that the last time a narcissistic asshole from Texas with links to Halliburton used lies to launch a hopeless war, it was a Democrat.

When I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in USAF Officer Training Class 67-E, I took an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." I have come to regard the Bush Administration and their supporters as domestic enemies. I hope the Democratic Party gets that, before it is too late for democracy.

Because it sure as hell can happen here! As for me, I think it already has.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Future of American Has Been Stolen

Investigative reporter Greg Palast says 4.5 million votes will be shoplifted in 2008, thanks largely to the “Rove-bots” that have been placed in the Justice Department following the U.S. Attorney firings. Being the guy who uncovered the voter “purge lists” of 2000 that disenfranchised black voters, he’s worth listening to, even if the mainstream press chooses not to.

This time around, he claims to have 500 emails that the House subpoenaed and Karl Rove claims were deleted forever. They prove definitively, says Palast, that the Justice Department is infested with operatives taking orders from Rove to steal upcoming elections for Republicans and permanently alter the Department.

The “clownocracy” of Bush and Rove is criminal and even evil in its attempts to steal past and future elections, according to Palast, and can only be stopped if “Democrats…find their souls and find their balls.”

In an updated new version of his best-selling book, Armed Madhouse, Palast lays out the case for the future theft of the presidency, along with lots of other Executive malfeasance. I chatted with him about the role of the Justice Department in this scheme, and what it means for the viability of our “democracy.”

PUBLISHER’S UPDATE: Here are the 500 emails! –JD

JEFF DIEHL: First off, the “lost” emails. I guess you’re confident those 500 emails aren’t themselves a hoax? Considering the source? [John Wooden, the man behind the spoof site,, forwarded them on to Palast after someone accidentally sent them to Wooden’s domain.]

GREG PALAST: Oddly, the GOP verified their authenticity to BBC. I almost fell over dead when they did that.

JD: How did they do that exactly?

GP: We asked them on camera. They did not deny they were the party’s internal emails — just disagreed what the “caging” lists were. Saying, for example, they were “donor” lists. Men in homeless shelters?

(Click link for full interview)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Help Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention Without Charges

Dear Friend,

I wanted to send you a quick note to be sure you were the first to hear some encouraging news: Literally just seconds ago, Senator Harkin introduced a bill to close the Guantanamo Bay prison 120 days after passage.

This is a huge step in the right direction, but we have to act now to keep the momentum.

Email Congress: Support Senator Harkin's bill to close the Guantanamo prison.

If Congress hears from enough of us, the bill to shut down the Guantanamo detention facility could really pick up momentum by June 26th. On that day, activists around the country will join the ACLU for our Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice.

Senator Harkin's bill, which was just introduced, is an excellent, comprehensive solution. It would close the Guantanamo prison and end indefinite detention by requiring the government to get its act together and finally charge anyone alleged to have committed a crime.


Gas Prices Hitting Another High

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Leaving a big mess on campus

After final exams and graduation every spring, America's college campuses become astonishing junkyards of abandoned stuff — providing, some say, a snapshot of a generation of students raised in a throwaway culture.

Take Pomona College. A cleanup of the dormitories there last week filled hallways and lounges with about 50 unwanted mini-refrigerators, 40 computer printers, scores of microwave ovens and window fans, mounds of mattresses and couches, piles of pillows and clothes, a store's worth of detergent, shampoo, books and ramen, not to mention some bicycles, stuffed animals, crutches and exotic underwear.

At that liberal arts college in Claremont and at schools across the country, graduating seniors and even underclassmen lack the time, storage space, wits or desire to keep all their possessions. So they leave some — even items in good condition — behind. That is particularly true for the students headed home to faraway locales or for those whose parents will sigh in exasperation but will finance another clock radio and bookcase in the fall.

"I think it's absolutely enormous. But it's not surprising," Sarah Kuriakose, Pomona's former student body president, said while surveying the detritus gathered from a room-to-room search she organized. "No college student would say it's surprising."

But she and activists at many other campuses, including USC, UCLA and UC Irvine, have decided enough is enough. Concerned about the waste and overstuffed landfills, they are devising ways to donate or recycle the dorm debris.

Some schools, such as Pennsylvania State and Ohio State, conduct immense yard sales and give the proceeds to worthy causes.

"Not until you are here sorting through it all do you realize the actual magnitude of what was previously being trashed. And what could be put to good use for families of need," said recent Pomona graduate Katie Lenhoff.

She was among the 24 volunteers working on a new weeklong effort called Operation Clean Sweep, which funneled the discards to six charities.

But first there was cleaning and sorting to do. In Walker Hall, Lenhoff, for example, was washing wine glasses with tell-tale red stains still at their bottoms.

That time of the year

Norbert Dunkel, vice president of the Assn. of College and University Housing Officers-International, said the widespread abandonment of property has become a springtime ritual at many schools.

The University of Florida, where he is director of housing and residence education, recently gave about 20 tons of usable items to the Salvation Army, food banks and other groups.

"Students today, even versus 15 years ago, are much more of a throwaway culture," Dunkel said. "They use things and don't keep them for an extended period of time."

Part of that is driven by technology: Why save a printer if a faster and cheaper one will be available next year?

Some belongings are forsaken by departing graduates. But lots of bikes and microwaves come from undergraduates who shop during the year and then panic because many colleges allow no or very little summer storage.

In some cases, they have acquired things that won't transport very well — such as the live 5-foot-long boa constrictor University of Florida employees found a few years ago in a dorm dresser drawer.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ann Telnaes

Tony Auth

Senators to Gonzales: Looks like you lied under oath

Okay, the Senators put it more diplomatically in letter sent today to the Attorney General, but in essence, that's the gist. What known-liar Gonzales said under oath conflicts with what James Comey said under oath. My money is on Comey telling the truth:
Specifically, Mr. Comey testified that you and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card went to Mr. Ashcroft's bedside at George Washington Hospital, where he was in intensive care, in an effort to get him to agree to certify the legality of a classified program that he and Mr. Comey, who was serving as acting Attorney General at the time, had concluded should not be so certified. Mr. Comey stated that when the Administration decided to go forward with reauthorizing this classified program without that certification, he and several other Justice Department officials, including possibly Attorney General Ashcroft himself, were ready to tender their resignations.

You testified last year before both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee about this incident. On February 6, 2006, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, you were asked whether Mr. Comey and others at the Justice Department had raised concerns about the NSA wiretapping program. You stated in response that the disagreement that occurred was not related to the wiretapping program confirmed by the President in December 2005, which was the topic of the hearing.
Huh. Imagine George Bush's lawyer telling a lie -- under oath, no less.

Bush and Gonzales never, ever thought they'd be held accountable for their lies. And, if the GOP still controlled Congress, they wouldn't be.

Josh Marshall has video of Comey's testimony. Not to be overlooked was Comey's recollection that Bush himself had called Ashcroft's hospital room to arrange the visit by Card and Gonzales. It's worth a watch. Reading the reports about Comey's testimony don't do it justice.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

George Bush's cone of cell phone silence

Mobile phone calls in sections of Sydney's CBD will reportedly be blocked during US President George Bush's APEC visit in September.
News Limited papers report the sophisticated counter-terrorism measure will be used to prevent mobile phone detonated remote-control bombs.

A helicopter fitted with signal-jamming equipment will shadow the President's motorcade.

It will block all mobile phone calls within an area the size of a football field.

Here's what security expert Bruce Schneier has to say about the futility of cell phone jamming as a security measure:

Efforts to restrict cell phone usage because of this threat are ridiculous. It's a perfect example of a "movie-plot threat": by focusing on the specfics of a particular tactic rather than the broad threat, we simply force the bad guys to modify their tactics. Lots of money spent: no security gained."
And that's exactly what happened in Thailand:

Authorities said yesterday that police are looking for 40 Daihatsu keyless remote entry devices, some of which they believe were used to set off recent explosions in the deep South.

As Boing Boing reader Gorc says, "Does this mean the Bush's guys will be tackling people trying to get into their cars?"
According to this article, Sydney will be shutting down trains during APEC for a couple of days, too.

Falwell's stupidest quotes, direct from hell

Bigoted religious phony Jerry Falwell went to hell today. Voices of American Sexuality collected some of the stupidest things he said while he was befouling the living world:

* “AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”
* "It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening."

* "If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."

* After the September 11 attacks Falwell said, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen."

* “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions”

* “[Homosexuals are] brute beasts...part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

Why Is Internet Radio Endangered?

Why Is Internet Radio Endangered?
Public radio music webcasting is in immediate danger. The recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) exposes public radio stations that stream their musical content to huge increases in royalty payments and threatens to drastically curtail the programming diversity found on public broadcasting websites. This decision treats public broadcasters the same as commercial entities and saddles public radio stations with inappropriate and unachievable requirements.

Additionally, because the CRB's decision requires public radio stations to pay royalties on a per song/per listener basis, it directly contradicts public radio's public service obligations and mission. In a very direct way, the CRB decision penalizes public radio stations for their service to the public. The more of the American population we reach, the larger the royalty payments.

Artists, listeners, and public radio webcasters have joined together to help preserve our public service. We strongly believe in compensating artists, but public radio music webcasting as we know it cannot survive under the new rules. As it stands now, royalty rates for webcasters will increase drastically come July 15th and will be retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!

We need your help. Please take a moment to contact your Members of Congress to let your representatives know how much Internet radio means to you. Ask them to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act which was introduced in the House (H.R. 2060) by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL) and in the Senate (S.1353) by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) to save public radio webcasting. Act now!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Iraq to bar press from blast scenes

Iraq's interior ministry has decided to bar news photographers and camera operators from the scenes of bomb attacks, operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf said on Sunday (local time).

His announcement was the latest in a series of attempts to curtail press coverage of the ongoing conflict, which has already attracted criticism from international human rights bodies.

"There are many reasons for this prohibition," he said.

"We do not want evidence to be disturbed before the arrival of detectives, the ministry must respect human rights and does not want to expose victims and does not want to give terrorists information that they achieved their goals.

"This decision does not imply a curtailment of press freedom, it is a measure followed all over the world."

International and local media coverage of Iraq's deadly sectarian conflict generates dozens of images and reports of carnage every day, as insurgent bomb attacks continue.


Monday, May 14, 2007

The Field Trip From Hell

A school in Tennessee recently staged a drill with a fake gunman during a week-long field trip that left students terrified and in tears. The sixth-graders were told a teacher dressed in a hooded sweatshirt was a shooter on the loose and that it was not a drill. The school’s principal said the incident “involved poor judgment.”
AP via CNN:
MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP)—Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

“We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said.

The Antiwar Origins of Mother’s Day

1870, Julia Ward Howe responded to the horrors of the Civil War by issuing her “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” calling on women around the world to rise up and oppose war in all its forms.

It would be decades before Americans officially began celebrating Mother’s Day, and much of the original spirit of the proclamation has since been lost.

The Brave New Foundation, Code Pink and No More Victims are leading a movement to restore that spirit to the day, and for that we applaud them.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It Takes a Hammer to Grow This Salad

NY Times"IF you love fresh greens, there is no reason not to grow them yourself, even if you have only a tiny terrace or handkerchief lawn.
When Jon Traunfeld, a regional specialist for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension, showed me his homemade salad table, I wanted one, and I wanted to put it right outside my kitchen door. It has a whole different appeal — less work! proximity! — than my big vegetable garden.
Essentially, it is a garden on wheels that you can move around, into sun or shade, a big benefit when the sun gets too hot for spinach. It’s waist-high, so people with creaky knees or bad backs can just stand there and pick a few leaves for dinner. And it’s a cinch to water and weed (not like that jungle I call my kitchen garden.)
“It also means the groundhogs and the rabbits aren’t going to bother you,” Mr. Traunfeld said, standing by his leafy table, which sits on a terrace at the extension service’s Home and Garden Information Center in Ellicott City, Md. “Though, we have two deer trapped inside our fence. If they find this, we’re sunk.”
The salad table is basically a 3-inch-deep, 11-square-foot planting box on legs. It has a hardware-cloth bottom, lined with window screening, so that water can drain but soil mix stays put. The table can be lifted by two people; better yet, if you put casters on the legs it can be rolled.
Mr. Traunfeld invented his table about a year and a half ago, after seeing something similar at an organic farm in Virginia. He has long understood the joys of fresh greens: when it’s too cold outside, he grows them under fluorescent lights in his basement."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wildfire Blazes Behind LA Observatory

LOS ANGELES — Firefighters made progress Wednesday against a wildfire blazing over Dante's View in the brush-covered hills behind the city's iconic Griffith Observatory. Animals at the nearby Los Angeles Zoo were moved indoors, and dozens of homes were evacuated.
The 800-acre blaze in sprawling Griffith Park was just one firefighters were battling across the nation. A wildfire in northern Minnesota had already destroyed 40 homes and buildings, and brush fires in Georgia and northern Florida have charred more than 200 square miles.
Griffith Park is a mix of wilderness, cultural sites, horse and hiking trails and recreational facilities set on more than 4,000 acres in the hills between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.
The threat to homes south of the park, where the fire erupted Tuesday afternoon, had eased and many of the hundreds of residents evacuated overnight were allowed to return Wednesday. However, fire officials warned that conditions could change.
"The canyons and those erratic winds are dangerous," fire Capt. Carlos Calvillo said.
Most of the Los Angeles Zoo's 1,200 animals were moved into holding quarters.
"So far the animals are faring fine," said Jason Jacobs, director of marketing and public relations for the zoo.
The fire destroyed Dante's View, a trailside terraced garden on Mount Hollywood, City Councilman Tom LaBonge said.
"This is a very sad night for Los Angeles," he said.
The fire appeared to have been accidental, said Battalion chief John Miller, who oversees arson investigations.
On the East Coast, a wildfire in northern Florida's Bradford County had forced the evacuation of about 250 homes, said Annaleasa Winter, a state forestry spokeswoman. That fire had blackened 16,000 to 18,000 acres and was 20 percent contained.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said more than 200 fires that had charred a total of 78 square miles were active Wednesday in his state.
In southeastern Georgia, state officials issued a mandatory evacuation Wednesday for an area including the town of Moniac, saying that by early Thursday it may be in the path of a 107,000-acre blaze in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, the largest blaze in Georgia history.
Another fire that started in Georgia crossed into Florida on Tuesday and threatened Taylor, a town with one store and no cell phone coverage, but Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson said Wednesday that the wind appeared to have moved the blaze past the town.

Vegans Sentenced in Baby's Death"ATLANTA (AP) -- A vegan couple was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for the death of their malnourished 6-week-old baby boy, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice.
Superior Court Judge L.A. McConnell imposed the sentences on Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31. Their son, Crown Shakur, weighed just 3 1/2 pounds when he died of starvation on April 25, 2004.
The couple was found guilty May 2 of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children. A jury deliberated about seven hours before returning the guilty verdicts.
Defense lawyers said the first-time parents did the best they could while adhering to the lifestyle of vegans, who typically use no animal products. They said Sanders and Thomas did not realize the baby, who was born at home, was in danger until minutes before he died."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

PERSONAL SIDE: Presidential candidates are early to rise even on a lazy day

Huff Po: " Mike Huckabee is up before the roosters even on a slow day. Most of the presidential candidates are early risers on those rare days when they don't have to be. But one has been known to go back to bed after brunch.The Associated Press is asking the candidates a series of questions about their personal tastes, habits and backgrounds. Today's question and their answers:
What time is "sleeping in?"

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: 8:30-9 a.m.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "I feel lucky when I can sleep until 7 a.m."

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: "With a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old?"

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: 7 a.m.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: 8:30 a.m., according to his wife, Elizabeth. But she said this is how they really like to sleep in: up for brunch and then back to bed until 4:30 p.m., John Lennon-and-Yoko Ono style.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: 8 a.m.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: 7 a.m."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The New Modern Woman, Ambitious and Feeble

NY Times: "It’s time to play the blame game.
Everything wrong with “Grey’s Anatomy” and its soon-to-be spun spinoff is the fault of “Ally McBeal.”
Mary Tyler Moore and Marlo Thomas were early prototypes of the quirky but lovable career girl. David E. Kelley’s hit series about a deeply neurotic lawyer named Ally McBeal marked a turning point in the devolution of women’s roles in television comedy — the moment when competent-but-flaky hardened into basket case.
Thursday’s two-hour episode of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” in which Addison (Kate Walsh) has an emotional meltdown and flees Seattle Grace Hospital for a fancy wellness clinic in Los Angeles, serves as a prelude to a new, still untitled series centered on Addison and her new life in Southern California. It also suggests that the spinoff is doomed to be even sillier and more sex-obsessed than the original. And that is an achievement, considering that “Grey’s Anatomy” managed to squeeze in love scenes for a disfigured, pregnant disaster victim with amnesia.
Sex isn’t the problem with the new series; it’s the subjugation. Addison looks up her old friend from medical school whose perfect marriage has just ended and finds herself enmeshed with two other mature, reputable professionals: a fertility specialist and a psychotherapist. All three women are lovelorn, sex-starved and prone to public displays of disaffection.
On “Grey’s Anatomy” at least two female characters, Christina (Sandra Oh) and Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) have confidence, big egos and an ability to keep their sorrows to themselves most of the time. The female leads on the new series are fragile and pitiable, and it’s a worrisome imbalance. The HBO series “Sex and the City” made light of female insecurity and let its flighty heroines come out ahead. Here even the most successful women are left behind in life.
It wouldn’t matter, since the show is admittedly over-the-top escapist fantasy for women, except that it is troubling that even in escapist fantasies, today’s heroines have to be weak, needy and oversexed to be liked by women and desired by men.
Ms. Walsh, a tall, elegant beauty, looks enough like Catherine Deneuve for the resemblance to have been threaded into a subplot of one episode. Addison first showed up at the hospital as a coolly amused villainess who intimidated the show’s heroine, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). Over time and plot twists, her character evolved into a more likable colleague, but for some reason, that change required her to become dizzier, chattier and very much like the ever confused and self-doubting Meredith — and, of course, Ally McBeal."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

who's debating what



FNC 2,023,000
MSNBC 1,762,000
CNN 599,000

More people watched FOXNEWS TALKING about debate than the actual DEBATE!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Lautenberg outfoxes Gonzales on guns; Freeper meltdown ensues

Daily Kos: by thereisnospoon
"I have to say that Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) is a genius. He has created an extraordinary wedge to use against the Administration and its gun-crazy Republican allies with S. 1237, introduced on May 1st, officially (and brilliantly) titled the "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2007". The bill essentially gives the Attorney General the direct authority (above and beyond the Brady Bill) to prevent those on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms. Gonzales and the Administration, in their quest for ever-increasing power, have offered no objection to the bill's contents.

This leads to a double-bind for the GOP--if they support the bill, they do the following:

1. betray their rabidly pro-gun base in favor of federal power to prevent gun ownership, and
2. give the Democrats a legislative anti-gun victory in the wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech;

If they oppose the bill, they:

1. Deny the Executive authority in an issue of national security; and
2. Put themselves on record as saying that dangerous firearms should be in the hands of known terrorists.

And firearms in the hands of known terrorists is what is at issue here. "

Republicans walk tightrope over war"Republican presidential candidates gave a qualified endorsement Thursday night to President Bush’s strategy in the war in Iraq, criticizing the administration for mismanaging the war but insisting that U.S. troops should not be withdrawn.
In the first Republican debate of the 2008 campaign, the 10 most prominent contenders walked a fine line on the war. On one hand, they were reluctant to wholeheartedly back Bush’s strategy, which polls show is unpopular with the public at large; on the other, they could not afford to abandon the president and antagonize conservative Republicans who vote in the party’s presidential primary."

And here's a picture of the cameraman with his cheat sheet, so that he can tell which old white guy is which:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How a Number Became the Latest Web Celebrity

New York Times"SAN FRANCISCO, May 2 — The geeks are in open revolt.
A throng of tech-savvy Internet users have banded together over the last two days to publish and widely distribute a secret code used by the movie industry to prevent illegal copying of high-definition movies.
The broader distribution of the code may not pose a serious threat to the movie industry, because only sophisticated technologists can use it to tailor the decryption software capable of getting around the copy protection on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. But its relentless spread has already become a lesson in mob power on the Internet and the futility of censorship in the digital world.
The online uproar came in response to a series of cease-and-desist letters from lawyers for a group of movie studios and electronics companies, demanding that the code be removed from several high-profile Web sites. Rather than wiping out the code, which is essentially one long number, the letters led to its proliferation on Web sites, in chat rooms, inside cleverly doctored digital photographs and on user-submitted news sites.
“It’s a perfect example of how a lawyer’s involvement can turn a little story into a huge story,” said Fred von Lohmann, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civil rights group. “Now that they started sending threatening letters, the Internet has turned the number into the latest celebrity. It is now guaranteed eternal fame.”
The number is being enshrined in some ingenious ways. Keith Burgon, a 24-year-old musician from Westchester County, New York, grabbed his acoustic guitar at noon on Tuesday and improvised a melody while soulfully singing the number. He posted the song to YouTube, where it has since been played more than 45,000 times."

What walking speeds say about us

BBC NEWS: "The world is walking faster than ever before, according to research by the British Council. So what can we learn about someone who walks quickly?
Things to do, people to meet. Rushing around is regarded as an acceptable hazard of city living.
But an international study commissioned by the British Council suggests urban populations are walking faster and faster, and putting their health in danger in the process.
Researchers in 35 city centres timed how long it took 70 people unencumbered by phones, shopping and companions to walk 60 feet.
Singapore came top of the table, followed by Copenhagen, Madrid and Guangzhou in China. London was outside the top 10 and overall speeds were 10% higher than the previous study in the early 1990s.
"The key conclusion is that the world is speeding up," says Professor Richard Wiseman, who headed the study.
"Pace around the world is 10% faster than ever before. That's not great for our health. As people speed up in their lives they are not eating properly, exercising or seeing friends and family. All these things can lead to all kinds of things, especially heart attacks."
People who walk fast are also more likely to speak and eat quickly, wear a watch and get impatient, he says. They don't like to sit still, sit in traffic or wait in queues.
The professor believes the increased pace of life is driven by technology and the way people are constantly in touch with each other.
"We're just moving faster and faster and getting back to people as quickly as we can - and that's minutes and not hours. That's driving us to think everything has to happen now.""
1: Singapore
2: Copenhagen
3: Madrid
4: Guangzhou
5: Dublin

Foster's hops on green bandwagon

BBC NEWS: "Australian brewer Foster's has teamed up with scientists to create the world's first "beer battery".
The technology - using bacteria which consume sugar to generate power from brewery waste water - was unveiled at the University of Queensland.
The university was awarded a state grant of 140,000 Australian dollars ($115,000; £58,000) to help fund the microbial fuel cell project.
The battery will be installed at Foster's brewery near Brisbane.
As bacteria consume water-soluble waste from the plant such as starch, alcohol and sugar, the battery will produce clean water and electricity.
"Brewery waste water is a particularly good source because it is very biodegradable... and is highly concentrated, which does help in improving the performance of the cell," said the university's waste water expert, Professor Jorg Keller.
According to estimates, the brewery battery should produce two kilowatts of power - enough to power a household.
"It's not going to make an enormous amount of power - it's primarily a waste water treatment that has the added benefit of creating electricity," Prof Keller added."

A Case Against Cheney

By Richard Cohen
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
The resolution offered by the gentleman from Ohio reads sensibly. It alleges crimes high and low, misdemeanors galore -- all of them representing an effort to mislead the American people and take them into war. It is Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment directed at Dick Cheney. The vice president will, of course, deny being a liar. As long as Kucinich is at it, add that to the articles.
The congressman's case is persuasive, although his remedy may be too radical. He calls for Cheney to be impeached by the House and tried by the Senate, just as Bill Clinton was for what turned out to be neither a high crime nor much of a misdemeanor. What was it, anyway, compared with more than 3,300 American dead?
In his articles of impeachment, Kucinich details the many statements Cheney made that turned out to be factually wrong. For instance, he quotes Cheney as saying, "We know they [the Iraqis] have biological and chemical weapons," which of course, they didn't. Still, that was excusable, since it was early in the game and little contradictory evidence was being presented. As Condi Rice said Sunday, "When George [Tenet] said 'slam dunk,' everybody understood that he believed that the intelligence was strong. We all believed the intelligence was strong."
But in Cheney's case, the slam-dunking went on and on -- way past the point where it was possible anymore to believe him. He continued to insist that Saddam Hussein had high-level contacts with al-Qaeda -- " the evidence is overwhelming," he once said -- while others in the government not only knew that the evidence was not overwhelming but that it hardly existed. It was the same with Cheney's insistence-- not just wrong, but irrefutably so -- that Hussein "has weapons of mass destruction," and "[t]here is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us." The percussive march of these statements is so forceful, one after another after another, that it suggests Cheney wanted war no matter what. If he was lying to himself as well as to the rest of us, that is only a mitigating circumstance -- sort of an insanity defense.
Kucinich also alleges that Cheney "purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress." That, as the expression goes, is the gravamen of the charge. Kucinich doesn't stand a ghost of a chance of making it stick because Congress is not about to vote impeachment. But no one who reads Kucinich's case against Cheney can fail to conclude that this is a rational, serious accusation. It's possible that each individual charge can be rebutted, but the essence of it is shockingly apparent: We were being manipulated.
It is something of a joke that Washington is now transfixed by l'affaire Wolfowitz. This is the contretemps at the World Bank in which an architect of this misbegotten war stands accused of favoring his girlfriend. Do not be concerned with the details -- this is a parody of a Washington scandal -- but concentrate instead on what else Wolfowitz has done in government and how, now, it is a salary increase awarded to a companion that might do him in. This is tantamount to getting Al Capone for tax evasion.
In the same vein, we tend to focus on single events or statements regarding Iraq (to slam dunk or not to slam dunk, that is the question) and how poor George Tenet, a self-deceived careerist, is misunderstood -- as if he had uttered a statement of principle dramatically resigning over the manipulation of intelligence and it is suspiciously missing from the record. In all this back-and-forth, what gets lost is the immensity of the outrage, the enormousness of the breach of trust, the naive faith some of us had that when it came to the making of war, we'd be told the truth. This was not the case. The harping on weapons of mass destruction was an attempt to scare the American people into supporting a war that need not have been fought.

Kucinich is an odd guy for whom the killer appellation "perennial presidential candidate" is lethally applied. But he is on to something here. It is easy enough to ad hominize him to the margins -- ya know, the skinny guy among the "real" presidential candidates -- but at a given moment, and this is one, he's the only one on that stage who articulates a genuine sense of betrayal. He is not out merely to win the nomination but to hold the Bush administration -- particularly Cheney -- accountable. In this he will fail. What Cheney has done is not impeachable. It is merely unforgivable.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Governor Truly Tightens His Belt

NYTimes: "SALEM, Ore., April 27 — He swore off beer, had to put the pricey organic bananas back on the supermarket shelf and squeezed four meals out of a single chicken, all in the name of reducing hunger. And this is not even an election year.
Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski’s decision to live on $3 a day in grocery money for a week, as he had been urged to do in an Oregon “food stamp challenge,” could confound the surest cynic. At 66, he was just elected to his second term, with a budget surplus surpassing $1 billion and a legislature controlled by his fellow Democrats. So just what was there to gain politically?
For a governor who has long pushed to reduce hunger and happens to like eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, maybe that was not the point.
As Wayne Scott, the leader of the House Republicans, put it: “Obviously I’m in the opposite party, so it would be easy for me to knock him for this. Now, I don’t know that I fully believe that he’s eating on $21 a week, but I do think he’s trying to bring attention to the food stamp issue. He’s a pretty straight shooter.”
Mr. Kulongoski, who said he had not tried to skirt a strict limit of $21 for the week — the average amount allowed Oregon food stamp recipients — claimed that his only goal had been to raise awareness of hunger here and of a need for the federal government to preserve the current level of stamp benefits."

Mission accomplished

by Mike Luckovich