Friday, November 30, 2007

Let's talk Apartheid

A while back, some unknown former president that I'm sure nobody has ever heard of published a book overviewing all sides of the arguments between Israel and Palestine, as well as offering some solutions to these problems. This book angered many of our comrades on the right side of the fence. How dare a former president write a book critical of Israel!, they screamed. Worse yet, this former president used the word "Apatheid" in the title of his book as a description of what Israel was doing to Palestine, and such claims against Israel are outrageous and racist!, they also claimed.


They're gonna fucking hate this news item: "Olmert fears apartheid in the Mideast."

For those of you who are scratching your heads over just who "Olmert" is, he's the prime minister of Israel. You know, head of state, yadda yadda... The linked article has further details on his comments:
JERUSALEM -- In unusually frank comments, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview published Thursday that "the state of Israel is finished" unless a Palestinian nation is created, saying the alternative is a South African-style apartheid struggle. [...]

"The day will come when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights," Olmert told Haaretz [a major Israeli daily newspaper]. "As soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished."
So there you have it: the chief executive officer of Israel compares his country's treatment of Palestine to the racist apartheid system that gripped South Africa so many years ago. On the heels of this news, I betcha three things won't happen:

- The Right won't apologize to President Carter for their vicious attacks on his character
- The Right won't be even a tenth as much angry with Olmert as they were with Carter
- And, most importantly (or should I say "pathetically"?), the Right won't read Olmert's comments and rethink their views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

Because, after all, they could never, ever be wrong! Not even when the head in a country whose reprehensible actions they so slavishly defend says they're wrong.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crist Avoids Education Funding Question

Charlie Crist showed his lack of leadership on education funding. He told the Florida Education Association he will ask for school funding in his budget proposal. Crist said the decision on funding is up to the Florida legislature. The decision has already been made.

However, , schools won't be so lucky next year, state Sen. Steven Geller, D-Cooper City, warned, as legislators must cut another $2 billion from the state budget -- of which education consumes about 60 percent.

''It is inevitable,'' Geller told Broward School Board members. ``Anybody that has told you the legislature will make up this shortfall is lying.''

Property and sales tax revenue is down. The legislature is going to make more cuts to education. The question is will Crist veto these cuts. The Governor has shown zero political courageousness in discussing education. Crist can't support increased education funding and property tax cuts. It is one or the other. It would be nice to hear where Florida's undecisive Governor stand.

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Giulani Used NYPD As Taxi Service

Rudy Giuliani told the New York City Comptroller's Office he can't provide details of billing his police detail through New York City Loft Board and Office for People With Disabilities for security reason is utter nonsense. Giuliani is no longer Mayor. He is not President or carrying national secrets. Giuliani is merely doing damage control over using tax dollars for his affair with Judith Nathan.

Now we find out that Giuliani used the NYPD as a taxi service for Nathan.

New York papers reported in 2000 that the city had provided a security detail for Nathan, who became Giuliani's third wife after his divorce from Donna Hanover, who also had her own police security detail at the same time.

Why would Giuliani's mistress need a security detail? What security reasons are there for Giuliani not providing an explanation? The doing it for the cops defense is only going to convince the most gullible.

On Thursday, Joe Lohta, who was deputy mayor and budget director under Giuliani, said the billing practice was necessary because the police officers did not make a lot of money and their department took up to two months to repay them for their travel expenses. So Giuliani's office got a credit card and paid it off with funds from the various agencies. At the end of each fiscal year, the New York Police Department repaid the divisions.

No other New York City Mayor had similar billing practices. None of Giuliani's predecessors had a secret mistress living in Long Island.

The records show Giuliani making his first trip to the Long Island community of Southampton, where Nathan had a condominium, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 1999 — well before the former mayor acknowledged the breakdown of his second marriage in the spring of 2000. Giuliani and Nathan have refused to say when their romance began.

There were 10 more trips before Giuliani left office on Jan. 1, 2002, including visits every weekend in August 2001, as well as the 2001 Labor Day holiday — just nine days before the mayor's response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks propelled him to national prominence.

Giuliani has no problem abusing tax dollars and using bogus security concerns to dodge oversight. There is no reason to believe Giuliani will govern differently as President. Giuliani has the same ethic problems as Bush with none of the charisma. Hardly a winning combination.

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Adam Putnam's Minutemen Problem

It is time the media ask Adam Putnam is getting cozy with Minutemen president Chris Simcox. The Minutemen rank and file is filled with white supremists.

The Intelligence Report said the recent e-mail contact is not the first evidence to emerge of the overlapping of Minuteman and neo-Nazi membership. A few members of the National Alliance and Aryan Nations signed up with the original Minuteman Project in April 2005, and at least two frequent contributors to the white supremacist Web site volunteered for Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist's failed congressional campaign.

Putnam is another Republican using Nixon's Southern strategy to garner votes.

Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)
Voted YES on preventing tipping off Mexicans about Minuteman Project. (Jun 2006)
Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. (May 2004)
Voted NO on extending Immigrant Residency rules. (May 2001)
Rated 100% by FAIR, indicating a voting record restricting immigration. (Dec 2003)

A journalist should ask Putnam why he is cordial to an organization with ties to hate groups. Putnam should be pounded with the question repeatly until he passes the laugh test. If Putnam is a racist or political pandering he should say so. Putnam can not say he respects Hispanics while aligning himself whith white supremists.

Putnam is too shortsighted to understand that his immigration posturing is a liability. John Boehner and Putnam have taken a hardline stance on immigration and their only accomplishment was having Hispanics lean for Democratic Congressional candidates in 2006. Alienating the largest growing ethic voting group when the GOP is polling poorly is stupidity. Boehner and Putnam are the the House GOP leadership. Why these men aren't backbenchers after the 2006 election is beyond me.

Hat tip to Tampa Bay Blue.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

McCain: Complete Asshole

That's the first thing I thought when I watched this clip of McCain going after Ron Paul in CNN's GOP YouTube debate, claiming that Paul is the type of isolationist whose actions would have aided and abetted Hitler if we were on the cusp of World War II. Got any other ways to show us how much of a historical tardbag you are, John?

Honestly, I'm sick to fucking death of the terrorism/Nazism comparisons. Hitler had the political intelligence and acumen to maneuver himself into a position of absolute control, with popular support, in a nation that was historically an industrial and military powerhouse. Osama bin Laden, on the other hand, can't even get one entire nation to comply with his outrageous demands to extend the definition of jihad -- Not. One. Fucking. Nation. So wake me up when the radical Islamists procure a leader of Hitler's caliber who can take over a nation similar to Germany's status, and then we can claim that Islamic terrorism is as much of a threat to western civilization as totalitarianism was. Until then, shut the fuck up.

[Crossposted from Sugar Land is Dreaming]

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Breaking News: High School Still Sucks

Skylar Stains started Peace Shirt Thursdays at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High. Stains and fellow student Lauren Lorraine recruited 30 students for the Peace Shirt Coalition. They then started receiving harassment from fellow students.

"People just turned on us like that," said Lauren Lorraine. "At least 10 boys stood up and yelled things at me at once, and we couldn't even walk through the halls without a harsh comment being made."

Peace Shirt Coalition members placed peace posters on lockers of supporters of the group. The posters were quickly valdalized. "People tore them down and drew swastikas and white power stuff on them," Lorraine said.

Skylar had similar things written on her posters.

"Someone taped an 'I Love Bush' sign over my 'Wage Peace' sign," she said. "So I tore it down, threw it away, and the whole commons starting booing. I walk by later and find that someone has completely tore my sign down and placed an 'I Love America, Because America Loves War' sign up.' "

A valid question is how many these war lovers are going to enlist? Military recruiters are more than happy to sign up these fine young men.

Racist graffiti has nothing to do with patriotism. The swastika symbol was used by the Nazi Army that murdered U.S. servicemen at Malmédy. Students Lydia Pace and Joseph Marianetti stated that wearing Confederate shirts is showing support for troops in Iraq. The Confederate States of America was forced to disband after losing the Civil war. There are no troops serving in Iraq that are members of the Confederacy. Pace's and Marianetti's rationale for wearing a racist symbol doesn't even pass the laugh test.

The school administration is showing hypocrisy by not allowing PSC members to place posters on their lockers. Cheerleaders and football players are allowed to hang posters. The policy favors the school's Alpha males and females. The school is sending out the message that it is okay to bully unpopular students. That is a horrible policy and enables intolerance. The school should be teaching teens to accept people that are different than them.

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Must Have Christmas Present

Order your Lovely Mistresses of George W. Bush calendar now. Boing Boing has a description of this calendar by creator Veronica.

"I'm a burlesque performer in NYC and me and a bunch of the girls and NYC photographer Burke Heffner created the calendar 'The Lovely Mistresses of George W. Bush.' It's a beautiful, vintage styled pinup calendar. Each girl represents a special interest group or corporation that has profited from Bush being in power. The calendar is topical, environmentally friendly, and 25% of the profits are going to watchdog organizations that monitor corporate influence over our government."

Nothing say sexy like the words "Bush" and "special interest group."

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Giuliani Used Tax Dollars During Judith Nathan Affair

It is easy to see why Rudy Giuliani chose Bernard Kerik as his police chief. Both men spent tax dollars for secret trysts with their mistresses. In Giuliani's case: it was his affair with Judith Nathan. America's Mayor was married to Donna Hanover at the time.

Politico reports 11 Long Island trips indicated by credit card receipts. It is not possible to say how many of those visits included official business, but eight of them were not noted on Mr Giuliani’s mayoral schedule. The first trip to Southampton, Long Island, where Ms Nathan had a flat, appear in travel documents running from August 31 to September 1, 1999. Four police officers spent the night in a nearby motel, billing the city $1,016.20. (£485) Mr Giuliani’s schedule listed no events in Long Island that day.

Giuliani billed much of the expenses to the $34,000 to the obscure New York City Loft Board. Another $10,054 was billed Office for People With Disabilities. These tax dollars covered security and travel expenses. The affair is Giuliani's own personal matter. The cover up of the use of tax dollars shows ethically-challenged judgement on Giuliani's part. No one should take America's Mayor seriously the next time he claims to be a fiscal conservative.

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Ann Coulter Gets Hate Mail

Palm Beach County resident Ann Coulter received an exception from publicly listed her home address. Coulter received a nasty greeting card.

``You self-aggrandizing -- sociopath!! The only thing left after a nuclear war are you and cockroaches.''

The Miami Herald article points out Coulter's history of saying nasy things about other people. I expect Coulter to practice hypocrisy and not being able to take it as well as she dishes it out. It's not cool to send mean-spirited letters and phone messages to people. Even if that person is Ann Coulter.

The moral of the story is Coulter's vicious attacks on public figures has unleashed a backlash. Which in turn as raised the ire of people whom have nothing better to do than bother Ann Coulter. Haters attract haters. All parties involve could volunteer in their community. But that doesn't feed haters innner-stupid person.

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Quote of the Day

"I had to come to the conclusion that I only had one client... when I laid my head on the pillow, I'd say, 'Lord, are you pleased?' ... even if I get voted out of office, I'll never get voted out of heaven."

Mike Huckabee

God could always demand a recount.


FISA In Wonderland

Only the Bush administration would have the audacity to admit to warrantless wiretapping and then back a Senate bill granting immunity to telecommunication companies.

WASHINGTON —An intelligence bill the Senate is scheduled to take up after it returns Dec. 3 would block Americans from learning details of any warrantless surveillance program the federal government conducted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the American Civil Liberties Union says.

The bill would grant immunity from lawsuits to communications companies for any "intelligence activity involving communications" that was "designed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack" or attack preparations. Telecoms would need to show they received a "written request or directive" from the administration vouching that the programs were "lawful" to stop lawsuits.

Liz Rose, spokeswoman for the Washington office of the ACLU, says the language is a "blank check" that would cover not only a warrantless wiretapping program the Bush administration has acknowledged but any unconfirmed or previously unknown program. Last year, USA TODAY and other media reported that some U.S. telecoms also shared customer calling information with the National Security Agency as part of an anti-terrorism program that the administration has not confirmed.

Many of the illegally monitored calls were domestic. The White House has not explained why it is necessary to listen to the calls of American citizens. What is clear is the Bush administration has used the NSA to violate the Fourth Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Christopher Dodd has been outspoken against the FISA bill. Qwest admitted they were approached by the Bush administration to paticipate in warrantless wiretapping. They declined because of legal concerns. Verizon and AT&T have been silent on the matter.

We know that the Bush administration has admitted to warrantless wiretapping. Quest told the media they were asked to paticipate. Why haven't members of the administration being brought up on criminal charges?

Another matter is how can lawmakers consider legislation that clearly goes against the Constitution? The federal government has become as surrealistic as Alice In Wonderland.

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Mitt's Abortion Flip Flops

There is nothing I love more than a splintered Republican Party.

The Republican Majority for Choice has released a Youtube video attacking Mitt Romney's flip-flopping on abortion. Romney strikes me as a Manchurian candidate. He is robotic, telegenic and has zero substance. Does Romney care about anything else besides getting elected to public office?

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Howard Dean Youtube Question

Howard Dean submitted a question for the Republican Youtube debate. It's one I don't expect GOP presidential candidates to give a straight answer to. They are more likely to attack the Democratic National Committe chariman. If the question is used. Deabate moderator prefer such importan policy matters as diamonds or pearls."

“The majority of Americans believe our country is headed in the wrong direction. Yet the republican frontrunners stand firmly behind President Bush’s failures on everything from Iraq to vetoing kids’ health care. So why is a vote for anything of them a vote for change? We’d like to know,” Dean queried

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I"ve Got A Secret

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The Geek Squad

The Naked and The Dread

"I, state your name..." "I, state your name...."

Bloggers as terrorists?

Freeway Jam!

I love it when Zappadan starts gearing up. Celebrate in style with a Zappadan T-Shirt! ACT NOW WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!!!!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

:: Australia elections go the way of Great Britain, Italy and Spain: defeated by Bush's war, Al Gore, and Climate Change ::

In the greatest defeat in Australian history (well damned close), “the man of steel” and one of Bush’s greatest allies in his war farce, John Howard turns over the reins to Labor Progressive Kevin Rudd. I bet my friend Kryten is happy!

This weekend, Australians went to the polls and delivered an emphatic victory for Labor leader Kevin Rudd, while handing the party of conservative Bush ally John Howard its “worst election defeat in its 63-year history.” Howard “suffered the additional ignominy of losing his own constituency seat” in addition to the prime minister’s seat, the first time since 1929 that an Australian prime minister has been voted out of parliament. Rudd, a Chinese-speaking former diplomat who made combating global warming, strengthening workers’ rights, and redeploying from Iraq key priorities in his campaign, ”swings Australia toward the political left after almost 12 years of conservative rule.” The incoming prime minister has wasted no time implementing his new vision for Australia. Yesterday, he convened a meeting with government officials to discuss the mechanics of signing onto the Kyoto pact on global warming, and he announced that he will attend a U.N. climate change conference in Bali next month. Rudd soon plans to begin negotiations with the Bush administration over the withdrawal of Australia’s 500 troops from Iraq. “Today Australia looks to the future,” Rudd said. “Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward.”

… More than 60 percent of Australians want forces out of Iraq within a year, and Rudd pledged that Australian troops would leave by mid-2008 after consultations with the United States and the United Kingdom. Analysts noted that Bush “was a little more isolated in the world Sunday” after the loss of his close Australian ally.

I love this guy and know zero about him, other than the above. Interestingly enough, a magnificent Al Gore went to the White House as the Nobel Peace Prize winner (a hell of a rematch) for An Inconvenient Truth and chatted with Bush regarding, wait for it…… Climate Change! I suspect it went in one ear and out the other. With his other, powerful, naysayer pal Howard out of the way and Rudd’s intent to sign the Kyoto Accord, I hope this will now put more pressure on the U.S. to buck up and get on the train or get left behind.

CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL LOSING STEAM: For many years, Howard was one of the world’s foremost climate deniers, tag-teaming with the Bush administration to remain the only major industrialized nations to stay out of the international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Until a few months ago when Howard moderated his climate change rhetoric for political reason, he and his ministers frequently “pooh-poohed the climate-change doomsayers.” When former vice president Al Gore traveled to Australia in September to deliver a speech on the climate crisis, Howard prohibited his party members from attending the event. With Australia mired in the midst of the worst drought the country has faced in a thousand years, Howard’s climate change denial put him in a political position isolated from his countrymen. The majority of Australians viewed climate change as the number one external threat to the country, and Rudd delivered what Australia wanted to hear. “I am determined to make Australia part of the global climate change solution — not just part of the global climate change problem,” Rudd said during his campaign.

Life is grand when it backfires on nasty people and gives the good people their due.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Climate change = War?

Studying periods of temperature shifts during the "Little Ice Age" (from 1400-1900), scientists from the US, Britain, Hong Kong, and China have drawn some interesting parallels between climate change and war:
The researchers examined the time period between 1400 and 1900, or the Little Ice Age, which recorded the lowest average global temperatures around 1450, 1650 and 1820, each separated by slight warming intervals.

“When such ecological situations occur, people tend to move to another place. Such mass movement leads to war, like in the 13th century, when the Mongolians suffered a drought and they invaded China,” David Zhang, geography professor at the University of Hong Kong, said in an interview on Thursday.

“Or the Manchurians who moved into central China in 17th century because conditions in the northeast were terrible during the cooling period,” he said.
While some may criticize this study as not being relevant to today's climate events since it analyzed global cooling and we're currently in a period of global warming, I'll reiterate that the study focuses on climate change in general. Both global cooling and warming can cause droughts. That's a fact one must keep in the back of their minds while reading stories about Atlanta's water supply drying up, and other stories related to the southern US being "in the grip of an epic drought." And that last quote comes directly from Fox News, so you know it must be true!

[Crossposted from Sugar Land is Dreamiing]

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Acme Campaign

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I love it when Zappadan starts gearing up. Celebrate in style with a Zappadan T-Shirt!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving--How About Some Cheesey Comestibles?

A classic Monty Python sketch, and one of my personal favorites. With the brilliant John Cleese and equally wonderful Michael Palin.

On behalf of Robert and Sons One, Two, and Three, let me wish Michael and the readers and contributors at Pushing Rope a delicious Thanksgiving holiday and a relaxing afternoon off (one hopes, one always hopes).

Cheers and Bon Appétit,

Also at litbrit.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I thought Thank You Girl by John Hiatt would be musically appropriate for the holiday.

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Quote of the Day

"What Christian values are involved in judging the constitution, one wonders? I had no idea that the Gospels actually had guidance on judicial philosophy."

Andrew Sullivan, on an Iowa voter questioning if Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney would appoint judges with "Christian values."

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Another Snub For Florida Democrats

The Democratic National Convention Committee reserved no hotel rooms for Florida delegates. The reason is because the DNC is punished Florida for moving the primary to Jan. 29th.

"We're just following the directions by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee," Natalie Wyeth, an event spokeswoman, said from Denver on Tuesday.

If the Florida Democratic Party and Democrats in the legislature followed the rules this disaster would never have happen. A recent Mason-Dixon poll shows the controversy could help swing the state for Republicans in 2008. I'm aware a poll this early has little meaning. The point is Florida Democrats continue to shoot themselves in the foot. It is getting old.

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Now That's Family Values

The movement that is against homosexuality and sex sure is interested in gay sex. Conservapedia: the comedy gift that keeps on giving.

Hat tips to Melisaa McEwan and Jon Ponder.

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St Petersburg Citizens Against Tax Dollars For New Stadium

The St. Petersburg Times poll found that 69 percent oppose any plan for the Tampa Bay Rays with tax dollars. The new stadium has an estimated cost of $450-million.

One possible scenario to finance the stadium is problematic. Property taxes could be used to pay for stadium construction. That is money that would go to fund schools. Florida is facing a property tax revolt and the Rays are unpopular. The Tampa Bay Lightning (a hockey team) played in Tropicana Field and generated better attendance.

Another possibility is selling Tropicana Field. The question is who needs a baseball stadium? Tropicana Field could be torn down and the property sold. It wouldn't be a bad place for a shopping mall.

Mayor Rick Baker is going to have a hard time selling a new stadium to local residents. The sales tax to finance Raymond James Stadium left many voters feeling hoodwinked. To quote Pete Townshend, "Then I'll get on my knees and pray.
We don't get fooled again."

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Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

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Early Holiday Depression setting in for some folks.

The Politics of Fear.

The Dissolution will be televised

This guy's a Repubican, right?

Karl Rove's Advice Column...Dear Flabby, how do we beat The Bitch?

I love it when Zappadan starts gearing up. Celebrate in style with a Zappadan T-Shirt!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Alberto Gonzales University of Florida Appearance

Crooks and Liars has a video of protest demonstrations during Alberto Gonzales's speaking engagement at the University of Florida. Gonzo was paid $40,000.

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The Trouble With the Times

The key to understanding Thomas Friedman is that he is a buffoonish clown. His proposal of offering the "Bin Laden Scholars" scholarship program for Middle Eastern students is highly offense and unproductive. Any serious thinker would know that universities would be terrified being assiociated with any scholarship named after a man responsible for the murder of thousands. Offering free education to young Middle Easterners has positive merits. Friedman's brainstorm is flaky. Even coming from an auther whom wrote the factually inaccurate book The World Is Flat.

Friedman nearly tops the "Bin Laden Scholars" op-ed with his latest opus.

I have no idea who is going to win the Democratic presidential nomination, but lately I’ve been wondering whether, if it is Barack Obama, he might want to consider keeping Dick Cheney on as his vice president.

Friedman once was a serious Middle Eastern journalist. The time has come to put him out to pasture. A twenty year-old blogger can write better columns than this drivel. Friedman isn't pushing interesting ideas or so great wordsmith that can get any with faulty arguments.

The New York Times op-ed section is New Orleans after Katrina. There is one disaster after the other. Maureen Dowd compared Hillary Clinton to a dominatrix. David Brooks wrote a highly dishonest defense of Ronald Reagan's Philadelphia, Mississippi campaign kickoff. The town is famous for the murders of three civil rights activists. Racists legally used state rights to block segregation. T

The paper of record can do better than this. There are sensential that could make The Times op-eds pages relevant again. The talent pool at The American Prospect and within the paper is a good place to start looking for replacements. The newest columnist is John Tierney. His writing is so bad it's good. Not qualities that should apply to Murderers' Row.

“When you hear politicians calling you an addict and warning that you'll be cut off, try my plan for energy independence…. After you fill up your tank, twist the rear-view mirror so you can gaze at yourself. Repeat these words: ‘I'm good enough, I'm rich enough, and doggone it, people in the Middle East like my money.’"

The above quoted text is reason why fewer people read newspaper op-ed sections.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Fire of Fred Thompson Part 4

The Republicans wanted an aqua velva smelling knight on a white horse to ride to the rescue. Now they want him to get back on the horse and ride out of town.


Nonprofit Causes of the Day

Jobsite Theater

I have been trying to organize a Jobsite Theater fundraiser. Until that happens I'm asking you to help the Tampa theatre company with a donation. The company was big winner at the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay awards. Help them continue providing Tampa with great theatre.

The Pretty Bird Woman House

Far too many women have experienced domestic violence, homelessness and sexual abuse. The Pretty Bird Woman House in South Dakota provides aid to women in need. These are the services PBWH has provided within a year's time.

* Served a total of 614 individuals with education and services.
* Answered 397 crisis calls
* Provided emergency shelter to 188 women and 132 children.
* Helped 23 women obtain restraining orders, 10 get divorces, and 16 get medical assistance
* Provided court advocacy support for 28 women, and
* Conducted community education programs for 360 women.

The shocker is PBWH have only a staff of three.

The house the they bought was vandalized and burned down. They need to raise $70,000.
Their current fundraising total is $24,341.01 Please help them get a new house to shelter women.

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More City of Tampa Layoffs

Another great example of how trickle down economics does not create new jobs.

In a surprise move, Mayor Pam Iorio on Wednesday announced plans to lay off 100 more city employees by consolidating some operations and privatizing others, such as security and janitorial services.

Iorio attributed the move to reduced revenue because of property tax reform.

The measure is expected to save the city $3.4 million a year. This is the first phase of a three-year program likely to result in even more layoffs, she said.

I would love to hear Marco Rubio explain (besides Riverwalk) where the fat is in the City of Tampa's budget. Rubio needs to explain why Floridians are paying Donna Arduin $10,000 a month.

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Quote of the Day

"The reality is that I'm not running on what I did on Sept. 11."

Rudy Giuliani

Keith Olbermann breaks down that Giuliani's campaign is entirely about running on 9/11.

Update: Giuliani sounds like a man evoking 9/11 in his new ad.

Despite his reference to crisis, the ad does not mention the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the moment of crisis most identified with Giuliani. As in a previous ad, Giuliani declares that his experiences make him a "tested" leader. "They're not going to find perfection, but they're going to find somebody who has dealt with crisis almost on a regular basis and has had results," he says.

This guy is shameless.

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Question of the Day

Can someone explain to me why the New York Yankees are resigning Alex Rodriguez for a reported $275 million? A-Rod is a horrible postseason hitter, handles the New York media poorly and walked out of the last two years of his contract. The Yankees are paying an outrageous sum of money for a 32 year-old player. Athletes do not age like fine wine.

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Mitt Romney Flip Flops Galore

Baseball Crank has compiled the definitive list of Mitt Romney's flip flops. It is a looooooooooooooong blog post.


The Fissure Between Crist and Rubio

There have always been strains between Marco Rubio and Charle Crist. Rubio wrote a Miami Herald op-ed against the Governor's green policies. The House Speaker published another op-ed against the slot machine deal Crist is negotiating with the Seminoles. These op-eds were about Rubio increasing his profile and his ideological differences with Crist.

Rubio will have the Florida Supreme Court review if Crist can make a gambling agreement with the Seminoles without the Florida legislature's approval. There are valid arguments for legislative involvement in gambling compacts. What Rubio fails to mention if Crist doesn't cut a deal, the U.S. Department of the Interior would step in and Florida would lose an estmated $100 million in tax revenue. The Seminoles will get slot machines.

This has pushed the politically nonconfrontational Crist. Spokeswoman Erin Isaac issued a statement on the Governor's behave.

"We are reviewing the petition. The Governor is disappointed that the actions of the Speaker may delay additional dollars to education."

Chief of Staff George LeMieux came out gunning at Rubio.

"It's easy to be a critic," LeMieux said Monday, as he plopped a copy of Rubio's court petition on his desk. "It's disappointing because the governor is trying to show leadership, and it's not an easy situation ... We were put in a situation with the federal government where the governor felt like he didn't have a choice." LeMieux said Crist negotiated the best deal he could with the state, including a guarantee of at least $100-million a year in revenue to the state.

Rubio's anti-gambling stance makes no sense when Florida is facing a budget shortfall. The Speaker isn't about to propose tax increases and county budgets are hurting from the slumping housing market. The conservative base loves Rubio. Those are the people that put him into power and whom he ideologically agrees with. Ideology trumps common sense in Rubio's world.

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The Fire of Fred Thompson Part 3

House Republicans whom have endorsed Fred Thompson are anonymously conceding the candidate's defeat.

“I think he’s kind of done a belly flop,” said an estranged Thompson backer who indicated he will not pull his public support before the “Super Tuesday” primaries. “We’ll just wait till after Feb. 5 because I think he’s going to get beat.”

Other congressional Republicans are taking a hands-off approach to working with the Thompson campaign.

“I’ve kind of pulled back. I’m not not supporting him, but I’m not doing anything,” said a third lawmaker.

It's time for Thompson to work that Aqua Velva mojo.


Latest Florida Mason-Dixon Poll

The latest Mason-Dixon poll has the top tier Republican presidential candidates beating Hillary Clinton in the Florida general ection.

Giuliani - 50
Clinton - 43

Romney - 46
Clinton - 45

Thompson - 48
Clinton - 44

The poll shows one in five voters will not vote for a Democrat because of the candidate boycott and the DNC stripping Florida of delegates. Ouch.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Excommunicate

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Harry Dean Stanton was in Cool Hand Luke,and Repo Man.
Plastic Jesus was covered by Mojo Nixon and Jello Biafra. Is Lou Dobbs any relation to Fred C. Dobbs?

Rudy,Rudy, Rudy...

Exporting American Values to the Market Driven Iraq Healthcare System

Pakistanis Love a Man in Uniform

I love it when Zappadan starts gearing up. Celebrate in style with a Zappadan T-Shirt!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Caption it!


Quote of the Day

Go over to Bitch Ph.D. LeBlanc recites a bizarre thing he heard in his hood.

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Soulsavers - Revival

Mark Lanegan with in Soulsavers. The guy may come off as the Prince of Darkness, but he is a hysterical interview.

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The Cell

cambodian Cell Khmer Rouge Cambodia

Painting by Cambodian artist Vann Nath. He was waterboarded by the Khmer Rouge. 14,000 men entered the cell in Nath's painting. He is one of seven to have survived.

Vice-President Dick Cheney doesn't see waterboarding as evil as the methods used byterrorists.

Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

The entire waterboarding policy has been a "no-brainer." The White House violated the Geneva Conventions, produce garbage intelligance, and hurt America's reputation abroard. The White House should have spent more time using analytical thinking skills and less on no-brainers.

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Why Can't Florida Run Elections?

The Tallahassee Democrat reports over 43,000 Florida voter registration forms were rejected since 2006.

More than 14,000 initially rejected — three-fourths of them minorities — didn't make it through that last set of hoops.

African-Americans were 6.5 times more likely than whites to be rejected at that step.

Hispanics were 7.2 times more likely to be failed.

The Florida legislature made more stringent election laws in 2005. Social Security numbers and driver licences are checked with the state database. Potential voters are given two days to correct application errors or they are disqualified from voting. The reforms were approved by the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department.

The state is suppose to send notices to citizens that their voting applications have been rejected. Many never got a letter.

Jill Sapir was certain her voter registration would go through, since she filled it out at the Department of Highways and Motor Vehicles office in Tallahassee while getting her driver's license. She even remembers a supervisor reminding the clerk to make sure the form was complete.

That was seven months ago. Sapir said she has received no notice from the state nor from Leon County. "I actually thought it was just a singular screw-up, but obviously it's not the only one (they've) messed up," she said.

Also in the dark was Gulf Breeze resident Justin White, who registered to vote when he turned 18 — more than a year ago. "Aren't they supposed to send you something?" he asked, when told his card remained incomplete. White's current address was wrong, but the telephone number he supplied on his application reached him.

Republicans say government doesn't work. They are showing that by the handling of voting and election matters. Angry Connecticutt transplant Michael Plummer summed it up best.

"I know I'm in the South down here, you people aren't the sharpest pencil in the box," he said. "It's no wonder Bush won the election."


Update: Erin Ferns's post illustrates that Republicans use Social Security card and driver's licence requirements for voter suppresion. The databases matches new voters with long deleted voters with similar names. The new voter is disqualified for matching the name of another person no longer on the rolls. Another problem is different databases don't match up perfectly.

Sample points out, "The Social Security Administration admits that 46.2 percent of submitted voter registration records fail to match its records."

Florida has it's own database problems. I was told by Motor Vehicle that I was not in the database. I have lived and drove in the state since 1987. It's easy for me to believe that the state can screw up the databases.

The most rapid Republican wouldn't say that 46.2 percent of American voters are committing fraud.

The Republican goal is to make people jump through so many hoops that they give up and don't vote. The poor and minorities have less time and resources to deal with the endless roadblocks posed by the current registration laws. And they aren't a voting demographic Republicans are seeking.

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Chuck Norris Hearts Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee has the much sought after Chuck Norris endorsement.

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Rape Victims Punished Twice

Another despicable human rights story: a Saudi man and women were kidnapped and raped. The Saudi Arabian justice system sentenced both victims to 90 lashes. The woman appealed and the story broke to the media. Her sentenced was increased to 90 lashes.

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Kevin White Sexual Harassment Scandal

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White has been accused of sexual harassment by recently fired staffer Alyssa L. Ogden.

During an interview with her parents present, Ogden said the overtures began within days of her taking the job, when she said White, 42, took her on a trip to Atlanta. There, she said, White took her to dinner with friends and later asked to share a hotel bed with her.

Ogden said the advances continued in the form of requests for kisses during private moments at County Center and promises of career success if she would relent to his sexual appeals.

"It was all the time," she said.

In another article, Ogden said White took her to her Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. The Commissioner requested a kiss. When she declined he threw money on the table. White denied that he made any sexual advances towards Ogden.

"I'm sticking to what I said," Ogden said Wednesday. "I know for a fact what happened. Of course he's not going to admit it."

Ogden is 23 years-old. I'm trying to think about what motivation is would have to go public against a local politician and can think of nothing. I don't see a vast right-wing conspiracy against a Democrat.

If people are expecting me to support Kevin White just because he is a Democrat then they are sadly mistaken. Two St. Petersburg Times articles doesn't prove his guilt. The Equal Employment Opportunity Office needs to thoroughly matter. If White is innocent he name should be cleared with no resonable doubt. If Odgen's version of the events are true then White needs to be held accountable.

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Seven Single Member Districts For Hillsborough County

Citizens for Equal County Representation have launched a petition to have seven regional districts for Hillsborough County. The Commisioner currently has four regional regional districts and three county-wide districts. CECR needs 37,202 signitures on the petition to make the ballot. The organization also needs volunteers.

The dynamic duo at Tampa Bay Blue like the idea. I would prefer six regional districts and 3 county-wide seats. I like the idea of commissioners having to answer to the whole county. The problem is we need better candidates to run for the BOCC. Kevin White is in a sex scandal and Brian Blair's campaign contributions from Wellcare have become news. The currect incumbants have been less than stellar.

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Fred Thompson's Brand New Terri Schiavo Position

Fred Thompson previously said that the state government, with the exception the court system, should not wade into end of life matters.

“It should be decided by the family. The federal government and the state government, too, except for the court system, ought to stay out of those matters as far as I’m concerned.”

Thompson then changed his position on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. The key issue is Thompson won the National Right to Life Committee endorsement. The Admiral is changing his position to court Christian Right voters.

Stephanopoulos: (O'Steen) said you clarified that issue for him and you may be doing so publicly. What did you say to them to privately that you haven't said publically? In public, you've said this should be an issue for families and the courts but not for state and federal government.

Thompson: Well, what I said (to them) was ultimately if the families can't get together the first recourse needs to be the state government. What we talked about in a little more detail is the different kinds of end-of-life issues.

Christian conservative leader James Dobson cast doubt on Thompson's credentials. Dobson is considered the current kingmaker of the evangelical wing of the Republican Party.

"(Thompson's) underestimating how much of the Republican party is fueled by a bunch of busybodies that just know that they are the final moral arbiters on other people’s lives," wrote Amanda Marcotte. "And they don’t need to be bothered with things like facts or understanding before declaring other people unfit to make the most private decisions about their lives. In other words, he’s toast."

Thompson needs to get in the good graces of the Christian Right and fast. He is singing a new tune , but still can not be bothered to learn the details of Schiavo's medical condition.

Stephanopoulos: But there wasn't any question in the Schiavo case.

Thompson: No. Ah ah, that's my point. As I understand it she would have probably lived longer.

Stephanopoulos: But they did an autopsy, she was brain dead.

Thompson: Well (sigh) I didn't know that. At the time that was all kicking around and everybody was asking my opinion based on what was in the newspaper. I am just telling you what I think about the things in general.

Thompson is utterly unserious about end of life issues. He changed his position lacking a fundamental understanding of Schiavo's medical condition. Thompson admitted not knowing if allowing state and federal intervention into end of life cases would change laws. It's mindboggling for a former lawmaker and lawyer to make such a statement.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quote of the Day

"I'm just saying it's an interesting read. This was written -- what? Five thousand years ago?"

Bill O'Reilly, on the Book of Revelations. If O'Reilly is correct. Apparently, O'Reilly believe the final book in the New Testament was written before Jesus was born.


Bob Allen Resigns

Bob Allen has official resigned from the Florida House of Representatives. The Orlando Sentinel published his resignation letter.


Conservative Hunk Saturday: Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani Dress

Rudy loves enhanced techniques and for a woman to get her hands on his legs. Like professional wrestlers and male strippers, this terrorism ass kicker knows how to shave away all those manly areas.

Ladies, you can go out shopping for shoes or have passionate marathon with American's Mayor. He can can take you to the same apartment Bernard Kerik boinked Judith Regan.

You will lie on the bed as America's Mayor comes out of the bathroom wearing his sexist teddy. His bald spot will be glistening. He will whisper the name of his latest mistress into your ear. You won't care because you you will be overcome with desire. You will grab him and say, "Take me you be stallion."

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Fox News Porn

Watch Fox News. It's hot.

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Supersize My Freedom Fries

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

More Friday Frank from Litbrit at Pushing Rope. I have a You Can't Do That On Stage cassette tape around here somewhere that has Sharleena on it, featuring "The Dweeze". Or maybe I gave it away to my bandmates in Baguio, as I can't seem to find it...

Gordon has a cartoon that sums it all up. Lets start a Support The Veterans ribbon magnet campaign. I know this guy in Hong Kong who can get us wholesale magnets REAL cheap. Lead Free cost extra...

Skippy is on the frontlines of the writers' strike.

I love it when Zappadan starts gearing up. Celebrate in style with a Zappadan T-Shirt!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Allstate vs the State of Florida

This is a fascinating exchange between Deputy Insurance Commissioner Belinda Miller and Allstate Floridian Vice-President Bonnie Gill. The dialogue is about how ALLstate sets it's rates.

Miller: "You have to insure to two Hurricane Andrews in one year? Why to that level?"

Gill: "We have a very fragile surplus position."

Miller: "Was your decision driven by rating agency A.M. Best?"

Gill: "We are protecting our surplus."

Miller: "Was that decision driven by A.M. Best?"

"Gill: "In part, yes."

Gill can actually say "very fragile surplus" with a straight face. Well done!

A.M. Best rates Allstate's financial books for stockholders. Allstate used a A.M. Best's hurricane catastrophe model without the state of Florida's approval.

This is getting interesting. I hope Charlie Crist keeps digging into the working of the insurance agency.

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Friday Frank: Sharleena; Barcelona, 1988

Such a wonderful Frank solo in this one. (Plus, Ike Willis is wearing a t-shirt that Robert will undoubtedly want for Christmas.) Enjoy.

And from the bamboozy wilds of Ruskinistan, let me welcome myself back to regular Friday Frank postings and wish my lovely, patient readers a delightful evening.

And of course, a very Bon

Bon Weekend, everyone.

(H/T bongolamp)

Also at litbrit.

Quote of the Day 2

"Parker says there is a "mental health crisis on American campuses." Disease, thy name is fucking. To prove that young women are all going crazy with the cock, Parker quotes Miriam Grossman, yet another hack, I mean "expert," on the supposed hook-up culture on campuses."

Jessica Valenti, on the silly op-ed by Kathleen Parker. The latter quotes a study by the Ethics and Policy Center. The group is a Christian Right group disguised as a think tank.

Founded in 1976, the Ethics and Public Policy Center is Washington, D.C.'s premier institute dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy.

Conservative columnists are predictible with their use of sources. I would for once like to see them quote a real scientific study.

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Bob Allen Found Guilty

Bob Allen's career is officially over.

A jury found Allen guilty of agreeing to pay $20 to perform a sexual act on an undercover Titusville police officer in Space View Park.

"Over the last 120 days, you have been aware of the degree of public humiliation this charge has brought," the seven-year Republican lawmaker told Brevard County Court Judge Oscar Hotusing. "As I stand before you, I can say the totality of it all has been tremendous."

Hotusing ordered Allen to serve six months probation, pay a $250 fine, as well as court costs and $245 restitution to Titusville Police Department for its initial investigation.

I'm betting Allen will still deny that he is gay. His attorney Greg Eisenmenger said there will be an appeal. O.J. Simpson's dream legal team couldn't overturn this ruling.

Allen can not return to Space View Park. He must attend a HIV awareness class and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Allen must pay a $250 dollar fine and $245 dollar restitution to the Titusville Police Department.

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Playboy Helped My Blog Traffic

I thought the Kyla Ebbert story was dead. I was surprised to get a bump in search engine traffic for her name. I did a quick search of Google News and found out Ebbert is posing in Playboy.

Conservative blogger Sister Toldjah is having a field day beating on Ebbert. Toldjah's unbending mentality (which I'm restraining myself from mocking) makes me feel sorry for her.

And before any uber-fems start screaming, yes, I know ultimately it’s the woman’s choice but I can tell you right now if I had a b/f, and he came over to the house and announced, “Honey, I’m going to pose in Playgirl. What do you think?” he’d get an earful, and if, in the end, he decided he was still going to go through with it, it’d be time to say adios.

Amanda Marcotte argued that men aren't into the porn ideal woman.

The major point of the argument is that men have been built up by porn to expect physical perfection in women and therefore women are going to be sexually neglected as men turn to porn, where women are better-looking. I think that's women projecting their own physical insecurities onto porn actresses, not men comparing. For one thing, I find it hard to believe that most men really consider super-skinny women with hard, fake breasts, fried and bleached hair and leathery tans to be some kind of physical ideal. Sure, there are a handful of men who really like that, but most men have their own particular tastes, and most men that I know of at least would rather be with a woman who is pretty and natural instead of skanked up and surgically redecorated. Yeah, it's a different version of the Madonna/whore complex, but at least it's much milder. Most guys expect good girls to like sex and good girls are still the ones they want to date.

I think the whole Madonna/whore complex is a silly false conception. I used to have a friend that worked as a stripper. I would hang out and talk to the girls near closing and hang with them after work. The girls dress down outside of work. My friend wore sweat pants and button shirts as her out of work uniform. I can attest from hanging with these girls that there are guys with strange kinks.

One customer paid for a girl to knee him in the balls for a private dance. The other girls heard about it and they all gave him a private dance. Some men have strange ideas of what of "ideal."

Word of advise guys: chances are the girl giving you a dance hates your guts. I'm am probably the only guy that went into a strip girl and heard a dancer and bartender sing songs from Rent. You would be surprised to find out how many dancers were theatre geeks in high school.

I have no idea if Ebbert felt posing for Playboy was liberating. Ebbert's decision doesn't bother me from a moral perspective. I haven't seen any major feminist bloggers write about the Ebbert/Playboy story. This is probably cringe-inducing for them. I'm curious as to what they think about it.

The central issue is should Southwest Airlines have asked her to cover up? The answer is no. The airline let Ebbert fly in her outfit on one flight and covered up on another. If they are going to have a silly dress policy then it should be consistent.

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Friday Random Ten

Arcade Fire - Power Out/Rebellion (Lies) (Live Austin City Limits)

Jeff Klein - 66

Elvis Costello - Party Girl (dedicated to Partygirl)

Sonic Youth - Schizophrenia

Television - See No Evil

Of Montreal - Harvest Moon

Caulfield Sisters - Mosquito

Meat Puppets - Up On the Sun

The Who - I Can't Explain

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - I Taught Myself How To Grow Old (Live KCRW 11-9-2007)


Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A Blowvember re-cap... and Time Traveling Gaydar at Shakesville.

Kevin's got a run down on the latest Democratic Debates.

Litbrit offers up a Burnt Weenie Sandwich for Friday Frank. I love it when Zappadan starts gearing up. Celebrate in style with a Zappadan T-Shirt!

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Quote of the Day

"Pakistanis from different walks of life here say that ever since President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule two weeks ago, he's been the most unpopular figure in the country. But running a close second, many say, is his ally: President Bush."

Emily Wax and Imtiaz Ali, from their Washington Post article.

Bush's track record with sinking foreign leaders is impressive. Jose Maria Aznar and Tony Blair have both felt Bush's magical midas touch. It's no coincidence that neither of them are still in office.

"And the more I get to know President Putin, the more I get to see his heart and soul, and the more I know we can work together in a positive way," Bush said.

Putin's way of expressing his heart was allowing Russian weapons dealers to supply Saddam Hussein with weaponry. Putin was blamed for shuting down TV6. The station was critical of his policies.

Everything Bush touches turns to shit, including world leaders.

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Barack Obama On Drivers Licences For Illegal Immigrants

Barack Obama is sound more like an ordinary hack politician by the day. His confusing stance on drivers' licences for illegal immigrants was ugly. People would rather see a politician who never wavers (George W. Bush in 2004) than one that can't give a straight answer (John Kerry in 2004).

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The Great Sports Rebate Swindle

S.V. Date explains how the great sports rebate swindle works in Florida.

Because “rebate” has a specific meaning in the minds of most Floridians. It’s when you buy, say, a television at Best Buy, and then, after you send in the receipt, the manufacturer sends you a check for $50 or $100 or $1,000.

When the typical voter hears rebate applied to sports teams, the logical inference is that the amount “rebated” is based upon or limited by the amount of sales tax collected at the new park.

And that is precisely NOT how it works. Read the law (link below). After a team has been qualified by the governor’s office as meeting the projected requirements, the Department of Revenue starts sending the stadium owners a monthly check for $166,667 for 30 years — no further questions asked.

It gets worse. The Tampa Bay Lightning received a $166,667 monthly check the year of the NHL lockout. Florida taxpayers paid the Lightning the not playing. Talk about a bargain. Charlie Crist has decide to give the Tampa Bay Rays the same deal.

The Rays are now asking St. Petersburg to build a waterfront stadium. The price tag is $450 million. The Rays will put up only $150 million. We can take a good guess who will be paying the rest of the bill.

Jim Johnson made the unintentionally hysterical argument of the positive economic impact that "John Gruden, Vinny Lecavalier, Mike Alstott - they all have to fill up their gas tanks." That doesn't cover Rayomnd James Stadium operating at a deficit. Another point that destroys Johnson's gas purchase argument is studies showing that sport stadiums do not generate revenue back into the community.

The great sports rebate swindle will continue until voters stand up and say no more.

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Friday Cat Blogging

One of the most delightful homemade videos on Youtube is this tribute to felines. The song is It's So Quiet by Bjork.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Obama & Clinton Spar

Barack Obama takes Hillary Clinton to task on Social Security. TAPPED provides the details.

A pointed exchange between Obama and Clinton on the topic of Social Security leads to the second instance this evening of the audience booing or ooing one of Clinton's competitors for being critical of her. Obama makes the point that raising the payroll tax cap above the $97,000 mark is not going to be a "trillion dollar tax on middle-class families," as Clinton described it, because only six percent of Americans make over that amount. "This is not the middle class."

I firmly support people making over $97,000 paying Social Security taxes.

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