Write A Caption: God
Doesn't God as an omnipotent have an unfair advantage as a boxer? I was surprised to find out God looks like a member of an 80s hair metal band. Rock on!
The Washington Post reports that Blackwater guards may not be prosecuted because State Department investigators granted them immunity during questioning.
FBI agents called in to take over the State Department's investigation two weeks after the Sept. 16 shootings cannot use any information gleaned during questioning of the guards by the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which is charged with supervising security contractors.
Some of the Blackwater guards have subsequently refused to be interviewed by the FBI, citing promises of immunity from State, one law enforcement official said. The restrictions on the FBI's use of their initial statements do not preclude prosecution by the Justice Department using other evidence, the official said, but "they make things a lot more complicated and difficult."
"You can't use the fruits of that statement," another law enforcement official said. "It doesn't prevent them from talking [to the FBI], but . . . why run the risk? I think any lawyer would advise against it. "
This understanding of the backlash effect from dishonoring an Iraqi is included in a past military counterinsurgency manual, "Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II," recently re-published by the University of Chicago Press. But the reality is that Blackwater USA, from top to bottom, just does not care.
What employees of the private security firm care about, and I have heard this from the Blackwaters with whom I interacted in Iraq, is their paycheck. They care about their huge compensation packages, and about getting home alive to spend them. Blackwater USA has already taken in more than $1 billion from the public coffers.
Fred Thompson has a fascinating campaign strategy. He is going to blow off Iowa and New Hampshire. He is banking on South Carolina to pull him through. This is a disasterous strategy. No candidate, in recent history, has received his party's nomination without winning 2 out of 3. He is setting himself up for defeat.
Labels: fred thompson
I was asked by the media if Pushing Rope is a member of the Florida Netroots Coalition. The answer is no.
On Sunday, October 28, 2007, the Florida Democratic Party Central Committee approved the recommendation of the Committee on Clubs, Caucuses and Organizations to grant approval to the charter application of the Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition.
Is there anyone in America Barack Obama is not related to? First it was George W. Bush. Next it was Dick Cheney. Now he is a distant relative of Brad Pitt.
Pitt told the Post, "If it is true, I consider it great company."
The website Ancestry.com did the research for the Post.
Labels: Grill Rats Comic Strip
“It is to me important to remember that in our community, perhaps more than in many others, we deal with a large number of young people, some of whom cross the line into criminal behavior without necessarily intending to do so and without understanding the possible consequences to their futures of what they are doing. A responsible society should attempt to correct rather than simply punish such behavior when there is no indication that doing so risks creating a threat to the safety or peace of the community. This agreement accomplishes that and puts the burden on Mr. Meyer to demonstrate his ability to be a productive participant in society, which I trust he will do," Cervone said.
The Republican Party of Florida outreach to black voters is turning out to be a hysterical disaster. Deon Long is the head of the Florida Federation of Black Republicans. The RPF and FFBR co-sponsored a reception. For reasons not explained, one of Chairman Jim Greer's staffers rushed to the podium to pray the microphone from an "an expletive-shouting Long."
But Long said Greer is interfering with the federation's volunteer efforts. "They try to divide and conquer us if one group of Negroes isn't doing what you want them to do,'' he said.
"Since he became chairman, there's been a turbulent relationship,'' he said. "We have a right to ensure that groups that we charter are on the same page.''
"I'm hoping we can resolve our differences," Greer said. "But the party does have a very specific direction we want to go. I'm sorry Mr. Long doesn't agree with all of what we're doing."
John McCain attacked Hillary Clinton for a $1 million earmark for the Woodstock museum. He wanted to do some hippie-bashing to help his sagging poll and fundraising numbers. Turns out McCain didn't bother to show up to vote against the the bill the earmark was placed in. Nor did he attempt to take the Woodstock earmark out of the bill. Tom Coburn was the Senator that issued an amendment to take the language out.
Mark Lane noticed that Mike Gravel is polling below wouldn't vote in a Quinnipiac University Florida poll. That didn't stop FDP contention attendees from greeting him like a Roman general back from a great victory.
Joked Steve Geller, Florida Senate Democratic leader: "Mike Gravel is a very serious candidate for president, and people should come out to watch him."
FDP convention speaker Matt Stoller was interviewed by the St. Petersburg Times about congressional Democrats Alan Boyd and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
"He's awful. There's no question he's a terrible congressman. He's a terrible person...Lots of people are dead because of the moral cowardice of these people."
Andrew Sullivan has a must read post on Charlie Savage's book "Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency." The Bush administration approved the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libbi. He confessed information that Al Qaeda was attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
I literally laughed my ass off when I found out that George W. Bush has bestowed the Medal of Freedon upon Henry Hyde. It seems that Bush is trying to out fuck up the trifecta of former Medal of Freedon recipients George Tenet, Paul Bremer and Tommy Franks.
I have avoided the property taxcut amendment madness. I have no idea what is going on. Neither does the Florida legislature. Turns out the deal is close to dead. The House is throwing a fit after the Senate backed a more fiscally sane package.
As the House of Representatives posititions itself to reject the Senate's tax plan, and therefore scuttle a tax-cut plan for voters Jan. 29, Gov. Charlie Crist is dialing furiously.
"Vote this out. Just get it done, buddy," he's purportedly telling legislators. He's reminding them they can come back and cut more in spring and that they should remember: This is for the people. Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp is working legislators as well.
Winner Best Writer: While I’m a little sad I didn’t win this category, I didn’t deserve to, since Litbrit is without a doubt the best writer we have in the Florida blogosphere. I voted for her myself. Now you need to start reading her writing much more frequently.
SEN. CRAIG: Well, I don't know where the Senate's going to be on that issue of an up or down vote on impeachment, but I will tell you that the Senate certainly can bring about a censure reslution and it's a slap on the wrist. It's a, "Bad boy, Bill Clinton. You're a naughty boy." The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy.
I'm going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.
Will someone please tell Bill Nelson to shut up? He is making the primary situation worse everytime he opens his mouth.
He even bashed the leaders of his party as 'political party bosses in Washington' and accused them, as he has previously, of violating Floridians' right to vote.
'The average citizen in Florida can no longer see their candidates for president,' Nelson said. 'The party bosses have barred them from campaigning here except for private fundraisers. This is unacceptable.'
But Nelson also said he feels 'very, very optimistic' that the situation will be resolved - possibly by reaching a compromise with party officials, or possibly as a result of a lawsuit he and Rep. Alcee Hastings have filed against the Democratic National Committee.
'I think at the end of the day, we will be united. I think at the end of the day we will have the candidates coming to Florida, within a short period of time,' he said.
Meet Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy advisors.
Mr. Giuliani’s team includes Norman Podhoretz, a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran “as soon as it is logistically possible”; Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, who has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written in favor of revoking the United States’ ban on assassination.
“Well, if we were to bomb the Iranians as I hope and pray we will. We’ll unleash a wave of anti-Americanism all over the world that will make the anti-Americanism we’ve experienced so far look like a lovefest.”
Also, learning Arabic in and of itself promotes an Islamic outlook, as James Coffman showed in 1995, looking at evidence from Algeria. Comparing students taught in French and in Arabic, he found that "Arabized students show decidedly greater support for the Islamist movement and greater mistrust of the West." Those Arabized students, he notes, more readily believed in "the infiltration into Algeria of Israeli women spies infected with AIDS … the mass conversion to Islam by millions of Americans," and other Islamist nonsense.
I traveled to Austin Friday afternoon to visit my most treasured friend (ever). We went to see Collective Soul and it was quite good, even if we had to stand the whole time (me in heels). I must say, there isn’t one band member that I don’t salivate over. Dean Roland was looking particularly hot Friday night. Yum! I’m still trying to decide if I like the bleached locks of Ed Roland. I highly recommend their new CD, "Afterwords," available at iTunes. ALL of the songs are damned good. The videos below are ones I took at the concert, until I was asked not to do it anymore. So, I missed reording some of my favorites. However, I did enjoy the concert without that kind of distraction.
Dignity of Labor
Ennobling of Character
A Home for Everyone
Link Head, Heart and Hand
Throughout Ruskin’s early years, life was generally peaceful. People were notified of important events, such as a fire or a meeting, by a bell rung in the community center. There was no fire department, only a bucket brigade. The town church was nonsectarian. Services were held in the college’s assembly hall, and Dr. Miller usually read from his translations of original Hebrew and Greek Bible verses. A. P. Dickman ran the daily newspaper, and his daughter Pauline delivered milk to the local farms. Boys earned extra money by shooting alligators and selling their hides. The colonists built their own cannery, operating the whole process, including soldering the cans by hand, without outside assistance. By 1913, Ruskin had a local and long distance telephone system and electric light plant, and its cooperative store was doing a $25,000 a year business. The colony itself was expanded. Land was bought northward to extend the artesian belt and included more timber acreage, and purchases were made southward to add more truck farming and citrus land.
Cooperation was continually stressed. The colonists labored on public works projects to pay for their land, and college students worked in the fields and cooperative industries to pay for their education. The concept of the “common good” was the motivation for the colony. To this end, it tried to promote “social purity.” To keep the community pure, no liquor or cigarettes were allowed into the colony. Only whites could lease colony land. However, women had the same privileges as men.
As a result of George Miller's dream of a college within a supportive, socialistic community, the town of Ruskin was founded. Miller's cooperative community surrounding and supporting a socialist workers’ college lasted barely a decade. Nevertheless, the Commongood Society,though generally inactive, existed until October 1967, when it quietly dissolved. [...]
George Miller had depended on his wife’s brothers, three Missouri farmers, to help him finance and organize the colony, and because the community itself was colonized by farmers, Ruskin survived and flourished in an agricultural setting. In the process, the triumph of capitalism nearly erased memories of the town’s radical roots.
Labels: Zencomix Hall of Fame
Bob Allen's trial is set for November 5th. I see no way he is going to beat the rap. Has he been watching Larrry Craig and thinking that is the proper way to do damage control?
Labels: bob allen
The President’s wholesale disregard of the rule of law has compounded the damage done in Iraq and has made our nation less secure and as a direct consequence of these acts, we are less secure, more vulnerable and more isolated in the world.
Consider the scandal at Abu Ghraib – where Iraqi prisoners were subjected to inhumane and humiliating acts by U.S. personnel charged with guarding them.
Consider Guantanamo Bay. Rather than helping to protect the nation, the prisons at Guantanamo Bay have instead become the very symbol for our weakened moral standing in the world.
Consider the secret prisons run by the CIA and the practice of extraordinary rendition that allows them to evade U.S. law regarding torture.
Consider the shameful actions of our outgoing Attorney General who politicized prosecutions – who was more committed to serving the President who appointed him than the laws he had sworn to uphold.
Marco Rubio has nightmares.
Rubio, the Florida Speaker of the House, says in the dream, he’s in Colorado or a similar type place. He bumps into a person who used to live in Florida and they get to talking.
“Why’d you leave,” Rubio said recounting the dream to about 300 people at Sarasota’s Tiger Bay meeting.
Rubio said the guy tells him things just got too expensive. Couldn’t afford it anymore.
Then Rubio said he asks that guy when he left.
“Right around the same time you were speaker,” Rubio said.
Labels: marco rubio
Fred Thompson surprised me with his stance on end of life issues. Now he says he disagrees with Dick Cheney about the power of the presidency.
"No, I think the constitution in times of war, especially, is very definitive about that," he said. "The president is the commander in chief, but the Congress has the power of the budget. The power of the purse. So everything has to go through that prism. So it’s divided power in the constitution. Our founding fathers divided that up. Divided it up at the federal level, the idea being that things like Watergate should be made very difficult to happen. So no one branch of the government can misuse power."
Thompson described checks and balances as "a constant tug and pull. Controversy and differences of opinion over legitimate national security concerns is not a bad thing. Every branch needs to stand up for itself. And I saw that as, in effect, an attorney for the executive branch, and then as a legislator."
Thompson said he sides with the Bush administration in its struggle with Congress over "issues of surveillance," but he suggested in some of the cases on detainees that have been ruled upon by the Supreme Court he sides with the Congress.
Kenneth Quinnell is urging people to vote for the Florida Netroots awards. Today is the last day to vote. Votes must be emailed to Kenneth at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winners will be announced tomorrow at the Florida Democratic Party convention.
Labels: Grill Rats Comic Strip
About 500 sweaty fans packed the Roxy Theatre for the private show, the group's first public performance in four years. The English foursome played almost all of their songs during the hour-long set, including their best-known tunes "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen."
The show was predictably a little rusty, with singer John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) forgetting the words to the first song of the night, "Holidays in the Sun." But he added some bonus lyrics along the way, notably "Paris Hilton, kiss my arse" in "Stepping Stone."
He also struggled with sound problems and the heat.
"It's hotter than (expletive) hell up here," said Lydon, 51, clad in a traditional Indian kurta, tartan pants and blue vest and guzzling red wine from the bottle.
I didn't ask for sunshine and I got World War Three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me
Now I got a reason
Now I got a reason
Now I got a reason and I'm still waiting...
Barack Obama wishing not to offend homophobic Christian blacks refuses to denounce Pastor Donnie McClurkin. The gospel singer was chosen to perform at a fundraiser for Obama. The Pastor has a history of homophobic remarks. Obama angered gay activists with his response to the controversy.
About 6:40 pm today, the Obama campaign issued a written statement from the candidate saying that he "strongly disagree(s)" with McClurkin's views. Still, a spokesman said McClurkin would remain part of the concert line-up.
"I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens. I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country," Obama said in the written statement.
"I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as President of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division," the statement added.
Pastor McClurkin believes and has stated things about sexual orientation that are deeply hurtful and offensive to many Americans, most especially to gay Americans. This cannot and should not be denied.
At the same time, a great many African Americans share Pastor McClurkin's beliefs. This also cannot be ignored.
"Well, I’m not sure it is either. I’m not sure it is either. It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it."
Sign this petition telling Harry Reid that lawbreaking telecommunications companies should not be given retroactive immunity. Check out the lefty bloggers behind the petition.
Two years earlier, it bundled up $10,000 for Commissioner Brian Blair, who is running again in 2008 and has received $2,000 so far in this campaign from four different WellCare corporations. In 2005, Blair raised the issue of opening up bidding for the indigent health care bucks but denied that it had anything to do with all the greasing he’s had from WellCare.
The Florida Supreme Court will decide if the original property tax amendment is constitutional. Judge Charles Francis ruled that the ballot language was too misleading. The first hearing on the matter will be December 3.
If the court were to reinstate the amendment to the ballot _ yet do it after the state deadline _ what will the Secretary of State's office do?
"That's not a question we have contemplated,'' said Department of State spokesman Sterling Ivey.
The House plan gives businesses, second-home owners and landlords a 5 percent yearly assessment cap similar to the one that owners of primary homes get with the Save Our Homes Amendment. That goes beyond an agreement Rubio had with Pruitt and Gov. Charlie Crist to limit the plan to increasing homestead exemptions, providing portability and giving a small tax break to businesses.
Another supporter has jumped Admiral Fred Thompson's ship. This time it's Dan Hughes. He saw the the sinking USS John McCain as more promising. Hughes was the chirman of Thompson's New Hampshire's campaign. Hughes told The Hill that Thompson is writing off New Hampshire.
“It looks like their campaign was probably going to be a page out of the George Bush campaign, where you lose New Hampshire and concentrate on South Carolina,” Hughes told The Hill. “I don’t want to be a token chairman for a token campaign.”
''The proof's in the pudding,'' said the only presidential contender to make two extended campaign swings through Florida.
''I do what I feel like I'm comfortable with and what the occasion calls for,'' Thompson added. ``I'm doing it in the way I feel like I ought to do it, and people are just going to have to get used to it.''
Proof that it is darkest before dawn and after that it's pitch black. Dennis Kucinich will not be attending the Florida Democratic Party convention. Attendees can be wooed by Orleans and Mike Gravel. The former Senator had a hard time getting living souls to listen to him speak in Clearwater.
I have to admit. I was surprised. I thought Kucinich was different.
As one studies the images of the Eagle Nebula, brought back by the Hubble Telescope from that place in deep space where stars are born, one can imagine the interplay of cosmic forces across space and time, of matter and spirit dancing to the music of the spheres, atop an infinite sea of numbers.
Spirit merges with matter to sanctify the universe. Matter transcends to return to spirit. The interchangeability of matter and spirit means the starlit magic of the outermost life of our universe becomes the soul-light magic of the innermost life of our self. The energy of the stars becomes us. We become the energy of the stars. Stardust and spirit unite and we begin: One with the universe. Whole and holy. From one source, endless creative energy, bursting forth, kinetic, elemental. We, the earth, air, water and fire-source of nearly fifteen billion years of cosmic
We begin as a perfect union of matter and spirit. We receive the blessings of the Eternal from sky and earth. In our outstretched hands we can feel the energy of the universe. We receive the blessings of the Eternal from water, which nourishes and sanctifies life. We receive the blessings of the Eternal from the primal fire, the pulsating heart of creation. We experience the wonder of life multidimensional and transcendent. We extend our hands upwards and we are showered with abundance. We ask and we receive. A universe of plenty flows to us, through us. It is in us. We become filled with endless possibilities.
We need to remember where we came from; to know that we are one. To understand that we are of an undivided whole: race, color, nationality, creed, gender are beams of light, refracted through one great prism. We begin as perfect and journey through life to become more perfect in the singularity of "I" and in the multiplicity of "we"; a more perfect union of matter and spirit. - - This is human striving. This is where, in Shelley's words, " . . . hope creates from its own wreck the thing it contemplates." This is what Browning spoke of: Our 'reach exceeding [our] grasp'. This is a search for heaven within, a quest for our eternal home.
In 2005, Jeb Bush fed his base by making a stand against the teaching of evolution in Florida public schools.
"I think people have different points of view and they can be discussed in school," Bush said. "They don't need to be in the curriculum."
The new standards, which members of the State Board of Education will consider for adoption early next year, are likely to rekindle the debate over science and religion, and what's appropriately taught in public schools.
Under the plan, evolution and biological diversity are together considered one of several "big ideas," firmly grounded by "multiple forms of scientific evidence."
The proposal not only deserves strong public support, but also raises the question: What took so long?
The Congressional Budget Office did a study to figure out how much the Iraq war will cost if it continues until 2017. The answer is 2.4 trillion. Nicole Belle did the math. The cost would be $8,000 for every man, woman and child in the US. A possible way to fund a 2017 Iraq war is an increase in interest payments. The Federal Reserve would have to figure out many ways to squeeze banks and foreign lenders if the war is going to be paid for without tax increases.
On the basis of the two scenarios specified by Chairman Spratt, CBO projected the costs of activities associated with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terrorism through 2017. Because DoD does not report detailed operational statistics, those projections—which CBO derived by calculating the ratio between current force levels and funding requested by the Administration for 2008—are rough approximations.3
In the first scenario, the number of personnel deployed on the ground for the war on terrorism would be reduced from an average of about 200,000 in fiscal year 2008 to 30,000 by the beginning of fiscal year 2010 and then remain at that level through 2017. CBO estimates that costs to the U.S. government under this scenario would total $570 billion over the 2008–2017 period (see Table 1).
In the second scenario, the number of personnel deployed to Iraq and other locations associated with the war on terrorism would decline more gradually, from an average of about 200,000 in fiscal year 2008 to 75,000 by the start of fiscal year 2013 and then remain at that level through 2017. CBO estimates that costs to the government under this scenario would total $1,055 billion over the 2008–2017 period.
In addition to estimating the costs of the two scenarios over the next decade, CBO recently estimated the potential costs of maintaining a longer-term U.S. military presence in Iraq. The budgetary implications of maintaining such a presence are discussed in Box 1.
Elections Systems & Software released a press statement stating they were not responsible for the Sarasota voting problems. They blamed it on the stupidity of the voters.
"ES&S was not present during the election, so it would be inappropriate to speculate on the situation," spokeswoman Jill Freidman-Wilson said. "However, we have been in contact with the Supervisor of Elections who has emphasized that the voting equipment functioned well.
"The touch screen system used in Sarasota County provides unlimited opportunity for a voter to make and change selections before a ballot is cast. Therefore, according to the Supervisor of Elections, undervotes were a result of an intentional choice not to make a selection in the congressional race or unintentional omission of a selection."
"It has come to our attention after a number of inquiries...that some of your screens are exhibiting slow response times...We have determined that the delayed response time is a result of a smoothing filter that was added...In some cases, the time lapse on these consistent reads is beyond the normal time a voter would expect."
NAACP member and college students took to the streets of Tallahassee to protest the Martin Anderson verdict. Tallahassee Mayor John Marks showed grace that Floridans aren't used to seeing from their elected officials He thanked the students for their civic involvement.
"You have a right, an obligation, to let people know how you feel," Marks said. "An affront to justice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere."
"We are not asking for an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth; we're asking for equal justice," said Tallahassee attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Anderson family.
Via Pam Spaulding: How I love when wingnuts fight. Redstate.com has banned Ron Paul supporters.
Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal.
Now, I could offer a long-winded explanation for *why* this new policy is being instituted, but I'm guessing that most of you can probably guess. Unless you lack the self-awareness to understand just how annoying, time-consuming, and bandwidth-wasting responding to the same idiotic arguments from a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans can be. Which, judging by your comment history, you really don't understand, so allow me to offer an alternate explanation: we are a bunch of fascists and we're upset that you've discovered where we keep the black helicopters, so we're silencing you in an attempt to keep you from warning the rest of your brethren so we can round you all up and send you to re-education camps all at once.
The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group released their finding of a poll on Tom Feeney's re-election prospects. The results are not good for the incumbant. Republican voters are highly dissatisfied with President Bush. Feeney has voted in lockstep with the President.
Florida 24th CD voters’ overall mood and attitudes toward President Bush and the Republican Party suggest a very difficult political environment for Congressman Feeney. Overall, just 24% of voters say that the country is headed in the right direction, while 67% believe that we are headed off on the wrong track.
While George W. Bush carried the district by 10 points in 2004 (55% to 45%), today, only 33% give him an excellent or good job rating and fully 44% say that he is doing a poor job. Of particular note is that only 66% of Republicans give Bush a positive job rating.
Moreover, a majority of voters in the district have a negative personal view of the President (52% versus 37% positive). In a generic 2008 presidential ballot, the Democratic and Republican candidates are in a statistical dead heat (42% vote for the Democrat, 41% vote for the Republican). In a district that has an eight-point Republican party registration advantage and that Bush carried by 10 points, this is a striking finding.
Only 23% of voters said Congressman Feeney deserves reelection, which is nearly equal to the proportion that say they will definitely vote to elect someone else (21%). Feeney’s re-elect is one of the lowest of any incumbent in the country.
Labels: Grill Rats Comic Strip