Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fox News: the Revisionist History Channel

Frederick Douglass

Fox News put on a screen shot that claimed abolitionist Frederick Douglass debated Abraham Lincoln. That would have been difficult. At the time, black men could not run for the Senate.

Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas. Historians are quite certain that Douglas was a white dude. These Fox News anchors are just conservative talking heads that don't do things like fact-checking and reporting. If they did, they wouldn't have punked themselves.

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Ultrasound Bill Dead

The ultrasound bill will not make it to Charlie Crist's desk. Which I'm sure doesn't bother the UnDecider. The Florida Senate vote was split 20 to 20. Republicans were having a hard time saying they were pro-life, as they were cutting state funding to adoption.

Surprisingly, Republican Jim King made the best argument against the bill.

Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, said the bill violates Republican principles of less government. “This is not less government, it’s more government -- it’s government intrusion.”

“Unless you ovulate or have ovulated, we have no business as males interfering with this decision,” he said.

Sen. Ronda Storms had the audacity to say that "women use abortion or self-induced miscarriage as entertainment." I have heard abortion described as many things, but never entertaining. This is the same woman that claimed sex education would lead to "prematurely deflowering kindergartners and first- and second-graders."

I have followed Storms's career for years and she continues to out bat shit insane herself. Truly scary and amazing.

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CSX Deal Dead

The Florida Senate has scrapped the horrible CSX deal.

Claiming the huge bill loaded with projects for other regions like South Florida was being weighted down by the controversial rail deal, Senate Transportation Chairman Carey Baker, R-Eustis, said he would gut the CSX legal protections and framwork for the deal to buy the 61-mile line.

"It's been a long shot," said Senate Majority Leader Dan Webster. "'It would have been a difficult vote."

Senators had prepared a raft of deal-killing amendments to the bill that had been slated for debate in the chamber today -- making changes like restricting state funding for the deal until federal money was appropriated, stripping the liability protections for CSX or prohibitng hazardous waste from being transported on the rail line.

"All we had to do was lose one amendment and it was going to be dead anyway," Webster said.

Sen. J.D. Alexander is attempting to derail (pun intended) rail funding from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Alexander badly wanted the CSX deal to go through. Now he is throwing i hissy fit because he didn't get his way.

The blog Stop CSX in Polk County broke the story that Alexander's was purchasing Phoenix Industries. Alexander owns Altantic Blue. The company bought Phoenix Industries, a frozen food vender that does business with CSX. The transporation bill would have placed CSX's new hub near Alexander's warehouse. One needs a scorecard to track Alexander's conflicts of interest.

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Hate Crimes Awareness Day in Tallahassee

Equality Florida and Gay American Heroes went to Tallahassee, Florida on April 28, 2008 to stop bullying against LGBT people. The date was picked for the memory of Ryan Keith Skipper Skipper was an openly gay man that was brutally murdered. Skipper would have been 27.

I'm not crazy about the idea of making laws against teens to stop bullying. I doubt it is going to work. Kids can often be cruel to one another. They are developing emotionally and don't understand the consequences of their words. Schools should discourage xenophobic behavior. We should not throw kids in jail for name calling. I will note that I am not aware of what kind of legislation Equality Florida and Gay American Heroes are proposing.

That doesn't mean we ignore the thread of violent bullying. Eight Lakeland tennagers assaulted a female classmate and placed the video on Youtube. The girl knocked consciousness and suffered hearing and vision loss.

I back legislation against violent acts on gay and transgender people. Conservatives need to grow up and realize these people are targets for violence. Ofcourse, demonizing gay teens is a campaign strategy for Republicans. Ask Brian "Bubble Bee" Blair.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Antonin Scalia on Torture

Antonin Scalia is a disgrace to the Supreme Court. He has the audacity to tell Leslie Stahl that torture is not cruel and unusual punishment.

"If someone's in custody, as in Abu Ghraib, and they are brutalized by a law enforcement person, if you listen to the expression 'cruel and unusual punishment,' doesn't that apply?" Stahl asks.

"No, No," Scalia replies.

"Cruel and unusual punishment?" Stahl asks.

"To the contrary," Scalia says. "Has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don't think so."

"Well, I think if you are in custody, and you have a policeman who's taken you into custody…," Stahl says.

"And you say he's punishing you?" Scalia asks.

"Sure," Stahl replies.

"What's he punishing you for? You punish somebody…," Scalia says.

"Well because he assumes you, one, either committed a crime…or that you know something that he wants to know," Stahl says.

"It's the latter. And when he's hurting you in order to get information from you…you don’t say he's punishing you. What’s he punishing you for? He's trying to extract…," Scalia says.

"Because he thinks you are a terrorist and he's going to beat the you-know-what out of you…," Stahl replies.

"Anyway, that’s my view," Scalia says. "And it happens to be correct."


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McCain's Free Ride

Media Matters has the web site Free Ride: John McCain and the Media. Paul Waldman is interviewed by Keith Olbermann about how the media loves the "straight talk" and "maverick" spin that comes out of the McCain campaign. McCain has flipped on sending more troops to Iraq, Jerry Falwell, and immigration, to name a few. The Senator still can't tell Shittes from Sunnis and told Wolf Blitzer "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today." It is time the free ride ends.

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Health Care Workers Against John McCain

Change America Now will hold an event today at the Grand Hyatt, Tampa Bay. Health care advocates will discuss their problems with John McCain's positions on health care. McCain supports President Bush's veto against SCHIP.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, told CNN Wednesday he agrees with President Bush's veto of legislation expanding a children's health insurance program, saying the bill provided a "phony smoke and mirrors way of paying for it."

"Right call by the president," the Republican White House hopeful told CNN's John King.

That is the kind of straight talk the Maverick is now being taken to task for.

WHO: Nurses, healthcare professionals and advocates and families concerned about the healthcare mess in America

WHAT: Press Conference Responding to McCain Healthcare Remarks in Tampa and Calling on Him to Support Expanding SCHIP and overturning Bush Administration Efforts to Slash Medicaid by $13 Billion

WHEN: Tuesday, April 29th at 12:00 PM, ET

WHERE: Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
2900 Bayport Dr.
The ‘PELICAN’ Room
Tampa FL 33607

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Charlie Crist: The Undecider

Photo by the Orlando Sentinel

Florida Governor Charlie Crist can't seem to make up his mind about issues that might affect his approval rating.

The controversial abortion ultrasound bill? He’d wait to see how it looks when it reaches his desk, he said.

Allowing teachers to debate the basis of evolution? Ditto.

And the plan to bring commuter rail to Central Florida by giving CSX Transportation, a private company, sovereign immunity?

Déjà vu: “I’m interested in seeing the final product and look forward to reviewing it when it gets to my desk,” he said.

Crist has flip-flopped on abortion. Crist favors the current status quo on Florida abortion laws and is open to the possiblity to ultrasound screenings for abortions.

"Let's see what happens," Crist told the media.

Short answer: Crist is praying this bill dies in the legislature. Which might happen.

State senators were supposed to vote on the measure Friday after they halted an hour-and-a-half long discussion Thursday. But without discussion Friday morning, the Senate pushed back voting on the bill to next week, in the final days of the legislative session.

The bill's sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, said discussion was "not quite ready."

Crist was asked if he believes in evolution. The Governor gave a convoluted answer.

Asked if he believe in evolution, Crist said, “I believe in a lot of things. We should have the freedom to have a good exchange of ideas.”

But is legislation needed to guarantee that exchange? “I’m not so sure,” Crist said.

I'm glad the press didn't grill Crist with hard-hitting questions about his beliefs in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

The transportation bill allows CSX to not be held liable for passenger-related injuries. Taxpayers will pay for lawsuits. Sink's letter details how the Florida legislature caved in to lobbyists.

"Much of the initial negative reaction to the Department of Transportation's proposal is a direct result of the lack of full public disclosure on this several hundred-million-dollar deal," she wrote.

"DOT has claimed they were successful during negotiations with CSX, but Floridians have been given a take-it-or-leave-it plan at the 11th hour."

Crist refused to say where he stood on the CSX liability issue. A true profile in courage.

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Quote of the Day

"Elizabeth Edwards has a bushelful of chutzpah chastising the mainstream campaign press for its 'shallow news coverage' after the mainstream campaign press cut her and her husband** a huge break on one of the great shallow stories of 2008--the mysterious Edwards Campaign Love Child."

Mickey Kaus, going off the deep end by running a National Enquirer article against John Edwards.

It is hard to believe that Kaus used to once be an editor at Newsweek. Even Fox News has the sense to avoid a fantasy piece from a tabloid rag. Someone is always having a love child in the pages of The Enquirer. We might read about Ann Coulter having Kaus's love child. Although, I would rather not think about the possibility.

Hat tip to Kathy G.

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Kenneth Quinnell Live Blogs

Kenneth Quinnell live blogs the Leon County Candidate Forum. There is information on several candidates from Congressional races to school board seats.

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A Blog Changing Post

I have been getting thousands of emails asking me to change the blog's format from progressive politics to a Don Ho fan site. I think these suggestions show great promise.

Don Ho's music has been as innovative as the Velvet Undersground, Beatles, Nirvana, and Bob Dylan. Ho had a onstage charisma that Elvis Presley could not rival. His rendition of Peter Gabriel's Shock The Monkey shows how rock & roll should be performed. Stay tuned for updates about PR turning into the definitive Don Ho web site.

Side note: is the dude still alive?

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InstaCrap Wisdom

Clark Stooksbury of the American Conservitive calls Glenn Reynolds out for his dishonest blogging on Al Gore. The Right is now dumping on Reynolds crappy blogging. It couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

I responded to a comment by Jill Filipovic, at Feministe, about Reynolds playing the race card on Barack Obama. Jill wrote about Jeff Goldstein's racist fantasy of Shannon Elizabeth being raped by Marlon Wayans and Method Man. Goldstein is often linked on Reynolds' blog. Less than great minds think alike.

Here is my comment:

Be sure to mention that Al Sharpton, as Ambassador and Representative of All Black People Everywhere, is teh suck.

Glenn Reynolds plays the race card on Barack Obama by throwing out Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright.

UPDATE: Reader Edward Friedman emails: “This cannot help Obama or Hillary. The more anti-police, anti-white rhetoric, the more the unwashed bitter people flock to McCain in November.” That’s probably right. As with Jeremiah Wright, it’s almost as if Sharpton is trying to hurt Obama.

This reads like a post from a man that ceased being the most popular political blogger a long time ago. Reynolds shouldn’t talk about racism after his pro-genocide post against Muslims.

Civilized societies have found it harder, though, to beat the barbarians without killing all, or nearly all, of them. Were it really to become all-out war of the sort that Osama and his ilk want, the likely result would be genocide — unavoidable, and provoked, perhaps, but genocide nonetheless, akin to what Rome did to Carthage, or to what Americans did to American Indians. That’s what happens when two societies can’t live together, and the weaker one won’t stop fighting — especially when the weaker one targets the civilians and children of the stronger. This is why I think it’s important to pursue a vigorous military strategy now. Because if we don’t, the military strategy we’ll have to follow in five or ten years will be light-years beyond “vigorous.”

If that post isn’t racist than I don’t know what is.

Reynolds has made racist comments here and here. The Nutty Professor recommended the book 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask by Thomas Woods. The author is a founding member of the League of the South. It is a white supremist group. The website operators won't come out and state their racist intentions. The board members even issued a statement that they aren't racist. They just want the South to succeed from the Union. And I have great swamp land to sell you.

Goldstein has made sport out of bashing feminists. He has a bizarre obsession with Amanda Marcotte. Goldstein is obsessed with Marcotte's appearance and vulgarly refered to her as a "misogynist raping godbag." How a misogynist like Goldstein can call a popular feminist a misogynist is mind-boggling.

Reynolds and Goldstein freely accuse Lefty bloggers of being intolerant. Their arguments would be taken more seriously if they didn't use the internet to preach their brand of xenophobia.

Update Jeff Goldstein correctly notes that he didn't write the two Protein Wisdom posts on Amanda Marcotte. That was my mistake. Jeff attacks my integrity in the comments. Jeff fails to realize that Protein Wisdom is his blog and he is responsible for the anti-Marcotte material on his site. Come on Jeff, do you agree with posts mocking Marcotte's appearance?

This is the same guy that left posts at the John Edwards campaign blog after Amanda was hired. Perfectly normal.

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Worst Viral Video Ever

I found out about Two Girls One Cup from Tas. (Thanks a lot, bro.) Warning: do not search for the video. George Clooney's reaction is reason why you don't want to see the video.

“No,” I tell him, “but it’s so disturbing. I saw it once and can never get it out of my mind. I can’t watch it again.”

“I want to see it.”

Well, he asked. After a bit of searching, I find the link. I click it.

After several seconds: “It’s not so bad,” he says.

Three seconds later: “Oh.”

Another two seconds: “Oh, my GOD! Oh, my God!! Oh, my God!”

Clooney puts his hand over his mouth like he’s going to throw up. He bolts from his chair and walks out of the room.

And no, I am not linking to the video. Facebook has a support group called Two Girls One Cup Ruined My Life.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sonic Youth Late Nite Music Goodies

Sonic Youth - Eliminator Jr.

Sonic Youth - Schizophrenia

Sonic Youth - Kool Thing (Live)

Sonic Youth - Sunday

Sonic Youth - I'm Not There (Bob Dylan Cover)

Sonic Youth - Beat on the Brat (Ramones Cover)

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Howard Dean on Meet the Press

Howard Dean answers questions about the Florida and Michigan delegate situation on Meet the Press.

"You've got to keep order, and that's part of my job is to keep order," Dean said on Meet the Press. "It's understandable that the folks you call out because they think they're more important than everybody else are going to be upset about that. We did keep order, we do have an orderly process. I'll defend the process."

But Dean said he believes politics - not the voters - are to blame.

"The voters of Michigan and Florida were not the people that screwed this all up, it was politicians," Dean said, later adding, "I believe Michigan and Florida should be seated in some way because ...their voters did not cause this problem. This was caused by a political problem, not the voters' problem."

The problems with Florida and Michigan were political. Both states' Democratic party leaders moved up their primaries against repeated warnings from Dean and the Democratic National Committee. The problem with settling the delegate seating is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have too much sway in the process. Candidates for the presidency can't be unbiased about how the delegates are seated.

The DNC's duty is too get Democrats elected. Not play election officials. Florida and Michigan party leaders placed a task on the DNC they weren't meant to handle. A few state party leaders moved up the primaries to curry favor with the candidates. The voters and party have suffered because of their aggorance.

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The Red State Argument

Adam B has a good post debunking Hillary Clinton's argument that she is the better red state candidate for the general election. Let's break down how many states in the primaries did Hillary win, that Bush won in 2004.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama:

Iowa, South Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, Maine, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Democrats Abroad, Wyoming.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton:

New Hampshire, Michigan*, Nevada, Florida*, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, American Samoa, Pennsylvania.

Red States - Hillary Clinton

New Mexico

Red States - Barack Obama

North Dakota
South Carolina

Hillary would have the nomination wrapped up, if she was really strong in the red states.

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Making the War On Terror Ecofriendly

In The Know: How Can We Make The War In Iraq More Eco-Friendly?

The Onion News Network debates how to have more ecofriendly war.

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Great Moments In Conservative Punditry

It has been awhile since I read InstaPundit. Not that I have been missing much.

Reynolds runs a post on how Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's political prospects will be doomed by an Al Sharpton protest. Reynolds previous post is about Cindy Sheehan representing the average citizen fighting Nancy Pelosi and the corporate elite. Reynolds runs another post about Al Sharpton protest will derail Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's campaigns.

I laugh my ass off when I read these missives. Who the hell takes Sheehan and Sharpton seriously? Since when did the pro-Iraq war Reynolds become a Sheehan supporter? Two fringe liberals that barely get publicity are going to hurt the election prospects of three of the most powerful Democrats in America. Does Reynolds really believe this are he he just continuing his job an the unofficial RNC blogger?

I can't get mad at Reynolds anymore. Several progressive blogs are more popular than his now. The blogfather is now a dinosaur that lost his credibility long ago.

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Ronda Storms Pushing Religious Vanity Plates

Ronda Storms uses her usual heavy-handed touch to push for a religious speciality plate.

Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, tried to amend onto another bill a plate with the words “I Believe” and a large cross in front of a stained-glass, church-like window.

The proceeds from the plates are to go to religious schools. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." Storms wants to shove her religious idealogy down Floridian's throats.

Storms ideology involves legislative tactlessness. The religious organization failed to submit the proper petitions. Storms said the group should not be held accountable for their own petitions. Storms' amendment did not make it through commitee. That didn't stop her from adding it on the floor.

The amedment was voted down on a voice vote. That means Republicans voted Storms' amendment down, without their votes recorded. Republicans voted against the Christian base to smack Storms down for not following legislative proceedure. The woman has a way with people.

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Straight Talk Doesn't Want You to Hear sent an email out attempting to spin John McCain's statement that the Maverick is fine if America stays another 100 years in Iraq.

Today, RedState sent an email alert to readers to further push the point ... making a, shall we say, novel argument (emphasis added): "Clearly McCain was talking about a peace time standing presence ... Someone should ask the Democrats if they think we're still at war with the confederacy, the Germans, and the Japanese given all the standing American armies in the South, Germany, and Japan." As I said in my previous post, 'Claiming a 100-year occupation in Iraq would be like Germany or Korea reveals an immense lack of foreign policy knowledge, judgment and vision.'

Nice try. Watch the video made the the Democratic National Committee and judge for yourself. knows the statement is a loser for the Republican Party. A recent Gallup poll shows 63 percent of Americans believe the Iraq war is a mistake. Barack Obama would be foolish not to pounce on McCain for his continued support of the war.

Update: The RNC calls the ad a "complete distortion of Senator McCain’s comments and record." That's funny.

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Friday, April 25, 2008






It's Alright Ma (I'm only Bleeding)

John McCain Time For Action Figures Tour. Should we put an "r" at the end of Tempe, Arizona

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lost Open Thread: the Show Is Back

Ropers, tell me what you think about episode 9. Jack's gut feeling about getting rescued is really getting on my nerves. Locke is crazy, but he appears to be the better leader. I wouldn't have said that in earlier seasons. I don't think I would trust either of them with my life.

What did you like and dislike about the episode? I know there are lurkers out there. Feel free to comment.

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Cat Power on Letterman - Metal Heart - April 1st 08

Chan Marshall has the sexiest voice in music. End of story. Do a Google search for "cat power and "sexiest voice." I'm not the only one that gets the hot and bothered when the Kitten sings.

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Gallup Poll On Iraq War

Iraq Disapproval At All-Time High

Gallup's latest Iraq war poll breaks the survey group's record for least popular war ever.

The new high in Iraq war opposition is also notable because it is the highest "mistake" percentage Gallup has ever measured for an active war involving the United States -- surpassing by two points the 61% who said the Vietnam War was a mistake in May 1971. At that time, however, Gallup found greater uncertainty (11% no opinion) and lower outright support for the Vietnam War (28% said it was not a mistake) than it does for the Iraq war today (36%), so it is not clear-cut as to which war was less popular with the American public.

The bad is news for Bush is the war is polling better than him. The Decider set a Gallup record for worst quarterly approval rating. 31.3 percent and sinking.

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Quote of the Day

The bizarre mind of Ronda Storms never fails to amaze me.

Storms said that the sex education amendment went too far, adding that the measure did not belong in the bill and that it could lead to "prematurely deflowering kindergartners and first- and second-graders."

The Tampa Tribune did a recent series on how abstinence education is a policy failure.

But a recent federally mandated study shows that middle-school students who attended abstinence-only classes were just as likely to have sex as those who did not. Half had sex by age 15, a rate that held for students who attended abstinence classes and those who didn't.

At the same time, the teen birthrate rose last year for the first time in 15 years. Also, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases has grown unacceptably high, with half of new infections occurring in people aged 15 to 24.

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Ultrasound-Abortion Vote Near

The vote for the ultrasound bill in the Florida Senate will be close. The Senate has 26 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller says 13 Democrats and 6 Republicans will vote for the bill. Three Republicans are on the fence. Democrat Gary "Droopy Pants" Siplin will vote for the ultrasound bill. 20 nay votes are needed to kill the bill. Geller has 19.

The bill requires any woman getting an abortion to receive an ultrasound. She may be allowed to look at the results. The earlier version SB 2400 viewing ultrasounds mandatory.

An act relating to abortion; amending s. 390.0111, F.S.; requiring that an ultrasound be performed on any woman obtaining an abortion; specifying who must perform an ultrasound; requiring that the ultrasound be reviewed with the patient prior to the woman giving informed consent; specifying who must review the ultrasound with the patient; requiring that the woman certify in writing that she declined to review the ultrasound and did so of her own free will and without undue influence; providing an exemption from the requirement to view the ultrasound for women who are the victims of rape, incest, domestic violence, or human trafficking or for women who have a serious medical condition necessitating the abortion

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, rewrote the bill's language to make viewing ultrasounds optional for women. That doesn't make this bill any better. Ultrasounds aren't medically needed for abortions. Republicans are playing to a Christian conservative base that wants to make women feel bad about the choices they make with their bodies.

Democrats will have one more reason to run Gary Siplin out of the party, if this bill passes.

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Worst Youtube Video:Abortion Man

Damon Wayans is the producer of the internet channel Wayout.Tv. You may remember Wayans from the television show In Living Color. You likely do not remember his box office flops Bulletproof, Maj. Payne, Blankman and Mo' Money. Wayans has managed to both anger feminists and anti-choicers. That is a sure sign of the video's tastelessness.

The video is not funny a politically incorrect way. young black man's girlfriend calls him to inform him that she is pregnant. He whispers, "Get rid of that shit," meaning the fetus, when he hears the news.He calls on Abortion Man to assault his girlfriend and force her to have a miscarriage. This would be sickening as another Youtube amateur video. The fact that a longtime Hollywood veteran, with children, produced this video makes it even more disturbing.

Damon Wayans is the producer of the internet channel Wayout.Tv. You may remember Wayans from the television show In Living Color. You likely do not remember his box office flops Bulletproof, Major Payne, Maj. Payne, Blankman and Mo' Money. Wayans has managed to both anger feminists and anti-choicers. That is a sure sign of the video's tastelessness.

The video is not funny a politically incorrect way. young black man's girlfriend calls him to inform him that she is pregnant. He whispers, "Get rid of that shit," meaning the fetus, when he hears the news.He calls on Abortion Man to assault his girlfriend and force her to have a miscarriage. This would be sickening as another Youtube amateur video. The fact that a longtime Hollywood veteran, with children, produced this video makes it even more disturbing.

There are real life incidents of young male blacks assaulting pregnant teen girls. These attacks aren't a laughing matter.

A teen sought in an attack on a pregnant teen carrying his child now faces a murder charge.

Kerria Anderson, 18, is in critical condition after being beaten in Over-the-Rhine last week.

She was seven months pregnant, and hospital officials said the fetus was dead when Anderson arrived at the hospital.

JiaTV posted a Youtube response on how the video negative play into stereotypes of black men. The video manages to demean women, black men, and the abortion issue. I'm surprised Wayans didn't work flag lapel pins in the sketch.

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Florida Legislature's Lack of Balls

Florida Senator Carey Baker was not going to let Gary Siplin out do him for dumbest legislation of the year. Siplin has gone on a two year crusade against droopy pants. Baker decided Truck Nutz was of legislative importance.

"I find it shocking we'd tell people with metallic testicles on their bumpers that this is a violation," said Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallandale. "There's got to be better things for us to spend time debating."

Geller suggested this ban might be followed by prohibiting silhouettes of nude women on truck mud flaps or decals depicting a small boy relieving himself on another truck logo.

"We're basically going to have the bumper police," King said.

"All their concerns are legitimate," Baker said of the critics. "And I do have more important things to do this session. But I think this is important, too."

A sure barometer of political stupidity is Wonkette. The passage of Baker's amendment to the transportation bill made the political humor site. The story is making national news in an unflattering way. The Florida Senate spent two days debating the merits of this bill. That sound you hear is your tax dollars being flushed away.

"There's got to be better things for us to be spending our time debating," lamented Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller (D - Cooper City). There are boring issues like the budget deficit, property taxes, growth management, the CSX pork bill and reforming KidCare. Taking up these issues would show political courage that the Florida Senate has never shown. Just because the Senate is against balls doesn't mean they have a pair.

Motorists will be fined $60.00 if they are caught displaying Truck Nutz on their vechicles. Law enforcements officers have a new method to make their ticket quota. Taking tacky metallic nuts off of trucks will do nothing to improve the quality of life in Florida.

A scary sidenote: Jim King informed the chamber he is a proud owner of Truck Nutz. Further proof that it's hip to be square.

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Everything About Lost In 4:24 Minutes

A hysterical video summing up everything that has happened on Lost before Season 4, Episode 9.

Side note: I'm I the only one that cringes every time Hurley appears on screen. The character is physically repulsive, dumb, mentally insane and inarticulate. Someone should start a drinking content for every time Hurley mutters "dude" in an episode.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Caulfield Sisters - Cash

The Caulfield Sisters performing Cash at Pianos in New York City. The song is a tribute to the Man in Black.

Hat tip to Dumbfound Me.

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Bush Hears Nothing

Nothing gets by our sharp Commander in Chief.

QUESTION: What’s your advice to the average American who is hurting now — facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline, a lot of people facing –

BUSH: Wait a minute. What did you just say? You’re predicting $4 a gallon gas?

QUESTION: A number of analysts are predicting $4 a gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.

BUSH: That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.

Besides Bush's need to go into the family business, I could never figure out why he wanted to be President. He has been disengaged from his duties. Former Sec. of Treasury Paul O'Neill described Bush as "a blind man in a room full of deaf people.." This is to be expected from a President that said, "[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system."

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Write A Caption: Orazio the Cat

This is not a photoshop. Orazio the Cat is very real and not afraid of dogs. The fucker properly ate a few puppies in his time.

Hat tip to BlondeSense Liz.

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Who is Voting For Clinton & Obama

Flowing Data has made a superb graphic showing who are Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's voters. Hillary is winning counties poorly educated that went for Bush in 2004. That is a horrible base for a Democratic candidate in the general election.

Counties Over 20 Percent Black

Obama wins 383 to 70

Counties Less Than 20 Black and Graduation Rate Below 78 Percent

Hillary wins 704 to 89

Counties Less Than 20 Black With An Above 87 Percent Graduation Rate

Obama wins 185 to 36

Counties Where Bush Beat Kerry Badly

Hillary wins 48 to 13

Wow. Hillary really is running a Karl Rove style campaign.

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Kevin Beckner Officially on the Ballot

Candidate Kevin Beckner garnered the 7,400 signatures need to get on the ballot. Beckner is running for district 6 of the Hillsborough County Commission. The openly gay Democrat will be facing off against Republican Brian Blair.

Here is the press release Beckner sent out to the media.


With supporters by his side Kevin Beckner turns in over 7,400 petitions

TAMPA: Earlier this morning, Kevin Beckner arrived at the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office with several supporters by his side to submit over 7,400 petitions he and his campaign have collected throughout the past 16 months.

According to the Supervisor of Elections office, Beckner needed 6,334 petitions to qualify via petition in his campaign for Hillsborough County Commission District 6, a county wide seat currently held by Brian Blair. Representatives of the Supervisor of Elections Office verified that he successfully collected and submitted 7,440 petitions. They further indicated that after reviewing the first 100 petitions, via random sampling, Beckner has statistically fulfilled the requirement of qualifying by petition for his candidacy.

"I am extremely proud and very thankful to the hundreds of volunteers that committed time from their busy schedules to help me in this first stage of a long campaign by helping me successfully collect signatures and connect with thousands of voters throughout the county," proclaimed Beckner.

"I always believed that it is important to go out and meet the voters face to face, tell them about my candidacy and ask them for their support," stated Beckner. "We covered this county from one corner to the next, attending hundreds of community events and house parties and got consistent feedback," stated Beckner. "A majority of the voters we encountered are extremely dissatisfied with the current direction and focus of the incumbent and were more than happy to sign their names to support my campaign."

"The overwhelmingly consistent message I got from voters was that Brian Blair was totally out of touch with the real issues they were facing and trying to deal with on a day to day basis," reported Beckner.

"I look forward to the next stage of this campaign, facing off with Mr. Blair and challenging him on the real quality of life issues that are facing this county such as out of control development, a transportation crisis and a disregard of the environment," stated Beckner "all the pressing issues that have occurred and further deteriorated under my opponent's watch."

My prediction is Blair will avoid debating Beckner and use surrogates to gay-bash Beckner. Blair has already got his homophobic mojo working by falsely accusing the Hillsborough County school system of sponsoring the Day of Silence. The school system never gave students consent. Blair used the opportunity to score political points condemning a peaceful protest for lgbt rights. Beckner is the candidate that will bring out Blair's nasty side.

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Ms Pac-Man Fever

The video isn't about Ann Coulter. It is tribute to true feminist icon Ms. Pac-Man. Jessica and Amanda declare Ms. Pac-Man is the shit. Who am I to disagree.

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Tent City in Ontario

Thanks to Lindsay Campbell and Amanda Elend of for linking my St. Petersburg tent city post to their story on a homeless tent city in Ontario, California.

The Los Angeles Times has an article on Ortario's tent city. It is a rather bleak picture. The community is trying to directly deal with their homeless problem and have spent $3 million. That beats St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker tearing down tent city and then claiming he did not know who gave the order. This was after days of refusing to publicly comment.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Late Nite Music Goodies

The Hold Steady have a new album coming out. They have been playing the new song Stay Positive live.

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive (live)

I have become addicted to the song Umbrella.

Rihanna - UmbrellaFt.Jay-z

How many other political bloggers have more diverse musical taste than I?

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Worst Pep Talk Ever

I couldn't make up shit like this. Factory workers in Youngstown, Ohio were given this pep talk by John McCain.

"A person learns along the way that if you hold on — if you don't quit no matter what the odds — sometimes life will surprise you," McCain said in a speech at Youngstown State University after meeting the five remaining workers at Fabart, a steel-fabricating factory that had more than 100 employees a few years ago.

Who the fuck on McCain's staff pick this campaign stop. It's obvious that the Maverick is clueless on economic matters. Sadly, I'm not shocked that McCain would lecture five factory workers, about to get laid off, to pick themselves up by their bootstraps.

McCain went on to preach how wonderful free trade is. I'm not anti-free trade, but I am politically astute enough to understand that no presidential candidate should preach the virtues of free trade to a town that lost 40,000 jobs. Obama's people need to use McCain's Youngstown visit in the general election. McCain will lose Ohio if he keeps telling the state's voters how great NAFTA is.

McCain jokingly pointed out that NAFTA in fact is composed of five letters, though O'Connell seemed to be equating it to a "four-letter word," as in a curse word.

In response, McCain said again that those jobs were gone forever and he defended NAFTA as an overall plus for the U.S. economy, even as he conceded that wage discrepancies and product dumping have hurt U.S. workers.

"I've met too many people who've been displaced as a result of free trade to say, 'Aww, it's all been good for our economy, don't worry about it,' " McCain said. "But I think the adjustment is not to erect barriers and protectionism. I think the answer is to understand that free trade or not, we are in an information technology revolution. ... We've got to be part of that new economy rather than trying to cling to an old economy."

McCain's message to Ohio voters, 'Your jobs are gone.' Not that he has to worry. The Straight Talker is one of the richest members of the Senate.

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For Your Reading Pleasure

Litbrit writes about Danica Patrick and her own racing experiences. The Litster will be running laps in a '61 Porsche 356.

Sue Carlton gives a timeline to Buddy Johnson's screwups. Tommy Duncan comes out and states that Buddy is "not fit to be the Supervisor of Elections." Sue and Tommy will miss Buddy when they realize they have less comedy material.

An exciting Ezra Klein post on why dental insurance is separate from health insurance. And yes, I actually read the post.

The market believes oil prices will go down. I doubt that because only a few major corporations control oil and OPEC will not increase production.

Jill Filipovic has started a thread asking people about worthy causes to donate to. Bitter Scribe suggests Veterans Village of San Diego. The organization helps homeless military veterans.

Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan of the Gutter Twins challenge each other to a one-on-one basketball game. They forgot the interview was about promoting their record.

Lindsay Beyerstein gives us the lowdown on the Maverick's temper tantrums.

Paul Westerberg is interviewed by Billboard about a possible Replacements reunion.

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Marissa Amora Gets Short Changed

I have written about the tragic Marissa Amora story here, here, here and here. Marissa was badly beaten by her biological mother's boyfriend. Her collarbone was broken and she was hospitalized for a month.

Marissa's mother could offer no explanation for the little girl's broken collarbone.

A DCF child abuse investigator testified at trial she was concerned that Marissa's mom ''was more interested in getting her boyfriend out of jail'' than picking up her own child.

The mother, the investigator said, rarely visited the girl during her monthlong hospitalization, ''and when the mother did come to the hospital the child would cry and the mother spanked the child in her hospital bed,'' the appeals court wrote.

The shocker is that the Department of Children and Families placed Marissa back in the custody of her mother. Marissa was beaten again. Marissa's suffered internal organ damage and bleeding to the brain. She is only capable of speaking a few words. Marissa's adoptive mother Dawn Amora won a $26.8 million lawsuit against the state. Jeb Bush stonewalled and appealed. Incoming DCF Sec. Bob Butterworth reversed the decision.

The Florida legislature award Marissa only $1.2 million of the settlement.

Nine-year-old Marissa Amora would get only $1.2 million from the state. Legislators said a tight budget year is the reason for the reduced amount.

The Department of Children and Families has promised to increase the amount to $18.2 million over 10 years, payments that would have to be put in the state's budget each year.

Dawn Amora left a comment explaining Marissa's medical expenses and the legal fight.

Thank you Michael. We want a trust/annuity set up for her and will continue to fight. This is just plain disgraceful.
Her adoptive mom. Dawn
No disrespect to the Andersons, however we went through the legal process, both by Grand Jury, Civil Jury and two appelate courts. This has been going on for six years and we are being crushed financially as more and more attorneys make money off of my daughter's blood.

Future payments are not guaranteed. High-valued disability settlements against the state must be approved by the legislature. Whoever had the great idea that the legislature can trump the will of public juries is an idiot.

The Palm Beach Post has a video story on Marissa and Dawn.

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The Fight Between Kathy Castor & the Oil Industry Begins

Kathy Castor is sponsoring the Florida Coastal Protection Act. The bill would permanently ban on offshore drilling along Florida's Gulf coast. Castor's bill is a reaction to U.S. Rep. John Peterson's (R-Pa) bill to drill as close as 25 miles off Florida's coast. Peterson has pulled his legislation. Castor helped forced Peterson to withdraw his legislation.

Wayne Garcia has quotes of Castor speaking on the House floor in support of the the Beach Protection Act of 2008. It is a good bill, but has nothing to do with the FCPA or providing a buffer for offshore drilling. Here is the video of Castor's comments on the BPA. (How I love reporters attributing the wrong quotes because when they run with press releases.) Castor's speech does reflect her stance on offshore drilling.

“Drilling off of our beautiful beaches is the energy policy of the past,” said Castor. “If President Bush and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle truly wanted to address high oil prices, they should have voted with the Democratic majority to take the huge tax breaks away from the big oil companies at a time that they are making record profits. Instead of these huge tax breaks for big oil the New Democratic Congress wants to invest those dollars in alternative energy and transportation opportunities to break our addiction.”

Castor's description of America's addiction to oil reminds me of Dennis Leary's comedy routine about cocaine. America is one big Rick James super freak that can't kick the oil jones.

The oil industry have already launch attacks against Castor.

“Drilling off the coast of Florida, the risks far outweigh the benefits. That kind of drilling would only provide a short term supply, maybe a few weeks of oil to power our cars,” says Castor.

Jim Smith, President of the Florida Petroleum and Marketer Association disagrees.

"How does she know?" he asks. "What are the facts to back up that claim? The 'Jack' well that Chevron discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006 has huge reserves. Hundreds of billions of barrels. I don't know how she could know that."

Rep. Peterson
states that Castor's bill will single-handledly take down the economy. Who knew that Castor had more control over economic matters than Henry Paulson or Ben Bernanke?

"If we don't open up the natural gas supply for this country we will not compete economically," Peterson said. "It's just going to be tough times."

Castor needs to aggressively get her message out. Republicans, the oil industry and conservative pundits are going to gut her. Democrats are horrible at message discipline and flee when one of their own is in trouble. Castor needs to use the netroots, the liberal wing of the Democratic delegation (the Blue Dogs will abandon her), and put people in her own party on the spot. Congressional Democrats need to be asked, 'Do you support clean water or not.'

Castor's staff is netroots savvy and good with the media. Republicans and lobbyists will do everything to kill her bill. Castor's people need to take the initiative and fight for their boss.

The one piece of good news is Vern Buchanan has come out in support of the bill.

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Presidential Candidates Jump the Shark

Proof that the apocalypse is near. WWE and XBox have created a Barack Obama vs Hillary Clinton animated wrestling promo. Hillary, Obama and John McCain are going after that all important pro-wrestling fan vote. I dare not ask if Obama and McCain got body-waxed before going Monday Nite Raw.

McCain: And Americans don't watch wrestling because we are bitter. We watch WWE because wrestling is about celebrating our freedom.

We are not fighting two wars so voters can watch a nonsanctioned rigged sport. If McCain really believes he spent those years as a POW to insure a fake sport would continue then he is seriously out of touch with reality.

The Hillary and Obama spots are unimpressive. They are not going to appeal to the RAW crowd. McCain is hamming it up and probably thinks he can get into the ring. He did get into a fistfight with Rick Renzi.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Pelosi Pushing Super-Delegates to Decide

I getting tired of the Democratic primary. It is good to see that Nancy Pelosi is attempting to end this before the convention.

Nevertheless, some party leaders are quietly planning to try to end the clash, said people familiar with the matter. After the primaries end in June, these influential Democrats -- led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- plan to push the last uncommitted party leaders to endorse a candidate, in hopes of preventing a fight at the August presidential convention, party insiders say.

These "superdelegates" -- governors, members of Congress and others who can vote for any candidate at the convention -- would likely tip the balance to Sen. Obama, who holds a sizable and likely insurmountable delegate lead. Sen. Clinton is hoping that a win in Pennsylvania, where she is favored, would lift her campaign and give party officials pause about Sen. Obama as the nominee.

How much more time do the super-delegates need to decide which candidate they prefer? These delegates are posturing for political favors. It is fairly obvious that Hillary Clinton will not be the nominee. These super-delegates are so scared and such panderers that they refuse to come to a decision that might piss off either candidate.

My hope is that this election will end the practice of super-delegates. It subverts the will of voters and is part of the backroom peddling of the old Democratic Party days. There is no good reason Bill Nelson and Ed Rendell should have such powerful votes.

Another annoying note: the media have elevated super-delegates to what the undecided voters in 2000. A group of voters that hold sway and have nothing interesting to say to the media about the candidates.

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Marco Rubio vs Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio was once the biggest fan of increasing sales taxes to offset the property taxcuts.

“It’s the fairest tax out there. Because you determine based upon how much you have,” Rubio said at a Wednesday news conference. “Sales tax, everyone decides how much they’re going to pay, based on what they decide to buy. If you buy a Bentley, you’re going to pay us more than if you buy an Audi. Or a — well, an Audi is pretty expensive right? A Hyundai. Or like the Prius. I guess that’s pretty expensive, too.”

Major conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist and Florida Senator Mike Haridopolos have come out against the sales tax increase. Rubio now calls the sales tax increase "a potential recipe for disaster." It is fascinating how conservatives follow Norquist like sheep. Rubio is an economic illiterate and he will back down the moment one of the most powerful conservatives in America comes out against his plan. A true profile in courage.

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Quote of the Day

"See, I actually don't think waterboarding is torture. I understand McCain's postion on that. I don't think it is. I don't think it puts their life in jeopardy when they're tortured."

Erick Erickson, of, explaining how waterboarding isn't torture. Even though he thinks it is.

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Write A Caption: Hillary and Chelsea

"Chelsea, if we stand here like statues long enough, I will win a nomination.

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Compare and Contrast Latest Hillary and Obama Campaign Videos

The Barack Obama video presnt optimism. The Hillary Clinton video tells voters the apocalypse will come if we don't vote for Hillary.

Political campaigns go negative when faced with the possibility of defeat. Super-delegates are defecting from Hillary and announcing their support for Obama. Hillary has less delegates, votes and her fundraising is lagging. Hillary's insistence on remaining in the race borders on delusional.

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When Grover Norquist barks Republicans jump. Mike Haridopolos unveiled a letter Norquist sent him against the property taxes decrease and sales tax increase. Norquist

"If this plan is passed along the legislature, any legislator who votes to place this measure on the ballot would be violating the Taxpayer Protection Pledge," Norquist’s letter continues.

Former Alabama Governor Bob Riley (R) attempted to raise taxes to pay for education. Norquist's organization the Americans for Tax Reform helped kill Riley's tax plan and placed the Governor on their enemies list. Norquist can rally conservative economic and Christian activists to kill a Republican politician's career.

Why Norquist is still taken seriously is a mystery. He campared the estate tax to the Holocaust. Norquist used pro-gambling Indian tribe money for a donation to the anti-gambling Alabama Christian Coalition. Norquist's friend Jack Abramoff told an Indian tribe to donate to the ATR. Norquist failed to inform the tribe or the Christian Coalition about the money exchange. All this was to help their longtime friend Ralph Reed.

Abramoff used ATR as a conduit in 1999 and 2000, for example, to send some $1.15 million from the Mississippi Choctaws to the Alabama Christian Coalition and to an allied anti-gambling group in the state. The funds were for a campaign spearheaded by Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader-turned-business-consultant, that helped to defeat a proposed gambling venture in Alabama that posed a financial threat to the Mississippi Choctaws' casino enterprises.

Abramoff, Norquist and Reed viewed Indian tribes as their personal ATM machine.

Some Abramoff e-mails released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee also indicate that Norquist took a cut of the Choctaw funds for ATR. In a February 7, 2000, e-mail, for instance, Abramoff cautioned Reed that he might be receiving a little less than expected because "I need to give Grover something (for helping), so the first transfer will be a little lighter." Then on February 22, Abramoff sent an e-mail memo to himself voicing surprise that "Grover kept another 25K!" Norquist told Time that he twice received permission from the Mississippi tribe to keep $25,000.

The fact that Haridopolos would seek out Norquist's approval is disturbing. Norquist backed Bush's disasterious first budget package. Norquist openly brags, "I think I've gotten more radical as I've gotten older."

I personally think the property tax/sale tax swap is a bad idea. It is amusing that conservatives are coming out against Marco Rubio's plan. Rubio is better at getting (bad) publicity than getting things done. In politics, that is all that matters.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Evolution of Ronda Storms

The conservative meme is that liberals always lie. The Right might want to ask themselves why they have to frame a debate in less than candid terms. Conpassionate conservatism is cutting SCHIP. Donald Rumsfeld said that Iraq was "immediate threat" to America's security. We now know that wasn't the case.

Which brings us to Ronda Storms. She has introduced the SB 2692. The bill is known by the misnomer Evolution Academic Freedom Act. The Orwellian term was created by David Howowitz and the Center for Science and Culture. Both parties have long attempted to push the scientifically unfounded theory of intelligent design in classrooms. Storms was asked several times by Senate Democratics if her bill would allow the teaching of intelligent design. Storms ducked the question and reread her bill.

"You've given us criteria," Geller, of Hallandale Beach, told Storms. "I don't want to know the criteria."

Steve Geller asked Storms a straight question. Storms didn't have the honesty to say she believed that evolution is nonsense. She framed her bill as promoting freedom to teach evolution. Where was Storms when Jeb Bush would not allow teachers to mention evolution?

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Robert Reich Endorses Barack Obama

Former Clinton administration Sec. of Labor Robert Reich will endorse Barack Obama. That is embarrassing to the Clintons, but not that surprising. Reich was one of the most addently liberal members of the Clinton administration and hated the deficit reduction advocates that made up Bill Clinton's circle of economic advisors. Reich was going to stay neutral. The Clinton campaign's attack ads got him off the fence.

"I saw the ads" — the negative man-on-street commercials that the Clinton campaign put up in Pennsylvania in the wake of Obama's bitter/cling comments a week ago — "and I was appalled, frankly. I thought it represented the nadir of mean-spirited, negative politics. And also of the politics of distraction, of gotcha politics. It's the worst of all worlds. We have three terrible traditions that we've developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn't possibly believe and doesn't possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters. And these three aspects of the old politics I've seen growing in Hillary's campaign. And I've come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can't in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president. Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They're lending legitimacy to a Republican message that's wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past twenty years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It's old politics at its worst — and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It's just so deeply cynical."

Reich believes Obama represents a "chance of creating a new politics." Endorsing Obama is rather a safe move. Hillary is not going to get the nomination. The Clintons can't intimidate from a position of weakness. The dynasty is crumbling down before our eyes.

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Iraq Spending

Congressman Ron Klein wants Iraqis to pay for reconstruction of their country.

“They have tens of billions of dollars they’re just sitting on right now,” Klein said, noting that Iraq has the world’s second-largest known reserves of oil.

Meanwhile, a recent Government Accountability Office study said Iraq has so far paid only 4.4 percent of the amount it owes for reconstruction work since the war, Klein said.

“It’s ridiculous. They’re sitting on billions and billions and billions of dollars and they’re not paying for these things.”

Two problems with Klein's proposal. The Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds can't agree on who owns the oil. I imagine collecting revenue for reconstruction will be equally frustrating. The second is George W. Bush would veto any bill that forced Iraqis to pay for reconstruction. The President has shown no interest in holding the corrupt Iraqi accountable. He isn't about to change his last year in office.

In related news: the President is asking for more money for the war. The Democrats are responding by adding pork to the military spending bills. I'm wondering when someone will seriously address Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Bloggers and Journalists Slam ABC News

Several noted members of the lefty blogosphere sent a letter to ABC News criticizing the questions asked by Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.


We, the undersigned, deplore the conduct of ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson at the Democratic Presidential debate on April 16. The debate was a revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross disservice to Americans concerned about the great issues facing the nation and the world. This is not the first Democratic or Republican presidential debate to emphasize gotcha questions over real discussion. However, it is, so far, the worst.

For 53 minutes, we heard no question about public policy from either moderator. ABC seemed less interested in provoking serious discussion than in trying to generate cheap shot sound-bites for later rebroadcast. The questions asked by Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Gibson were a disgrace, and the subsequent attempts to justify them by claiming that they reflect citizens' interest are an insult to the intelligence of those citizens and ABC's viewers. Many thousands of those viewers have already written to ABC to express their outrage.

The moderators' occasional later forays into substance were nearly as bad. Mr. Gibson's claim that the government can raise revenues by cutting capital gains tax is grossly at odds with what taxation experts believe. Both candidates tried, repeatedly, to bring debate back to the real problems faced by ordinary Americans. Neither moderator allowed them to do this.

We're at a crucial moment in our country's history, facing war, a terrorism threat, recession, and a range of big domestic challenges. Large majorities of our fellow Americans tell pollsters they're deeply worried about the country's direction. In such a context, journalists moderating a debate--who are, after all, entrusted with free public airwaves--have a particular responsibility to push and engage the candidates in serious debate about these matters. Tough, probing questions on these issues clearly serve the public interest. Demands that candidates make pledges about a future no one can predict or excessive emphasis on tangential "character" issues do not. This applies to candidates of both parties.

Neither Mr. Gibson nor Mr. Stephanopoulos lived up to these responsibilities. In the words of Tom Shales of the Washington Post, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Stephanopoulos turned in "shoddy, despicable performances." As Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher describes it, the debate was a "travesty." We hope that the public uproar over ABC's miserable showing will encourage a return to serious journalism in debates between the Democratic and Republican nominees this fall. Anything less would be a betrayal of the basic responsibilities that journalists owe to their public.

Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent
Eric Alterman, City University of New York
Dean Baker, The American Prospect Online
Steven Benen, The Carpetbagger Report
Julie Bergman Sender, Balcony Films
Ari Berman, The Nation
Brian Beutler, The Media Consortium
Michael Berube, Crooked Timber, Pennsylvania State University
Joel Bleifuss, In These Times
Sam Boyd, The American Prospect
Lakshmi Chaudry, In These Times
Joe Conason, Journalist and Author
Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal and UC Berkeley
Kevin Drum, The Washington Monthly
Henry Farrell, Crooked Timber, George Washington University
James Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University, TPM Cafe
Merrill Goozner (formerly Chicago Tribune)
Ilan Goldenberg, The National Security Network
Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films
Christopher Hayes, The Nation
Don Hazen, Alternet
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Ed Kilgore, The Democratic Strategist
Richard Kim, The Nation
Ezra Klein, The American Prospect
Mark Kleiman, UCLA/The Reality Based Community
Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
Ari Melber, The Nation
Rick Perlstein, Campaign for America's Future
Katha Pollitt, The Nation
David Roberts, Grist
Thomas Schaller, Columnist, The Baltimore Sun
Mark Schmitt, The New America Foundation
Adele Stan, The Media Consortium
Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones Magazine
Mark Thoma, The Economist's View
Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks
Tracy Van Slyke, The Media Consortium
Kai Wright, The Root

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

What is Your Favorite Character on Television?

My favorite character is Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on Battlestar Galactica. The character is an alcoholic, foul-mouth, violent and an unfaithful wife. Her shipmates put up with her emotional baggage because her skills as a pilot and soldier are indispensable.

The character would be insufferable if Katee Sackhoff wasn't so appealing in the role. Sackhoff makes it look easy. Watch how annoying Evangeline Lilly playing the troubled Kate on Lost. The difference is Sackhoff is a great actress and Lilly is a horrible actress on a popular show.

There are episodes when Sackhoff's Starbuck comes across as the cool girl every guy wants to date. The episode when she gleefully waterboarded a Cylon prisoner presented a very scary side of the character.

I hate scince fiction. I was surprised that BSG dealt with such hot button issues as torture, abuse of power, chemical warfare, terrorism and religion. The show is a reflection of the Bush era.

Readers, who is your favorite character on TV.

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William Ayers Blogs

Former Weatherman member William Ayers has gained a lot of attention in recent days. He is Barack Obama's neighbor and served on a board with the Senator. Ayers has written a blog post defending himself. I had no idea who the hell Ayers was before the ABC News debate. I don't vouch for anything in his blog post.

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Hillary's Security Umbrella

The Bush administration and neoconservatives mad hard-on for war with Iraq has degraded America's national security debate. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate stated that Iran ended their quest for nuclear weapons in 2003.

We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program1; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uraniumenrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

The ABC News debate sent Israel the signal that the next Democratic president will go to war if Iran attack Israel with their nonexistent nuclear arsenal. The Jerusalem Post article portrayed two presidential candidates ready to go to war for Israel.

Both Democratic presidential candidates threatened a tough response to Iran should it attack Israel, while sparring over the role of faith in American life and the validity of judging their candidacies by those with whom they associate during a debate Wednesday night.

"An attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation from the United States," said New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who proposed that the US create a security umbrella for Israel and other allies in the region to protect them from a nuclear Iran. "So would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under the security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions."

How exactly is the United States going to provide a nuclear umbrella for Isael and other Middle East countries. Excuse me, but Iran isn't the major security threat the neoconservatives would have us believe. This is scary talk and gives a glimpse into how Hillary views the world.

Obama used the vague "take no option off the table." That is political shorthand for attempting to sound tough and not commiting to any form of action. No candidate wants to look weak on national security. Hillary came off as Barry Bonds after a fix.

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Shield Us From the Prince of Darkness

Robert Novak is a very enthusiastic supporter of Rep. Mike Pence federal shield for journalists bill. Only Novak could write about Patrick Fitzgerald and Judith Miller without mentioning that he leaked Valerie Plame's CIA status to the world. Novak has no shame.

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Barack Obama on ABC News Debate

Check out Obama at 2:20 in the video.


ABC News Presidential Debate

I am watching the replay of the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton debate on the C-SPAN website. All I can say is what a shitty series of questions asked by Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. This is all questions about Bosnia sniper and the Rev. Wright. It makes for bad gotcha journalism and boring television.

Instead of questions about the economy, Charles Gibson asks Obama why he doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin. The debate was devoid of policy.

Asked to defend the fact that policy didn't come up for the first 40 or so minutes of the debate, Stephanopoulos said:

"We decided to focus at the top on the issues that had been at the center of the debate since the last debate. Everything we brought up in that front section had not come up since the last debate. And they all focused on the same theme -- which candidate would be a stronger Democratic candidate in Novembber."

"This is the core question for the campaigns, and a lot of Democratic voters right now. That's why we decided to lead with it."

Update: Columnist Rick Horowitz lampoons the dabate.

Tom Schaller wished that Hillary didn't follow her "lesser political instincts."

Update: Sean Hannity is feeding Stephanopoulos questions.

HANNITY: There are two questions that I don’t think anybody has asked Barack Obama, and I don’t know if this is going to be on your list tomorrow. One is – the only time he’s ever been asked about his association with Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist from the Weather Underground who on 9/11 of all days in the New York Times was saying “I don’t regret setting bombs. I don’t think we did enough.” When asked about it by the Politico, David Axelrod said that they have a friendly relationship, and that they had done a number of speeches together and that they sat on a board together. Is that a question you might ask?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I’m taking notes right now.

Here are lowlights of the debate.

Update: The Washington Post trashes Charles Gibson.

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About Those Activist Judges

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Eighth amendment

Conservatives constantly argue that only strict constructionist Justices should serve on the Supreme Court. Republicans argue that the courts are filled with too many activist liberal judges. It is painfully obvious that Justice Antonin Scalia took an activist role in his dissent of the Court's Lawrence et al. v. TEXAS decision. Scalia made the bizarre argument that sexual actitity is not a Constitution right. Scalia supported Texas law enforcement officers continuing to arrest consenting male adults for engaging in anal sex in the privacy of their homes.

Chief Justice John Roberts interpretation of the Eighth amendment shows a deep contempt for the Constitution.

“A slightly or marginally safer alternative” would not suffice, the chief justice said. He added: “Simply because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of ‘objectively intolerable risk of harm’ that qualifies as cruel and unusual” under the Eighth Amendment.

Roberts is creating such a huge loophole to continue executions. I get that Roberts supports the death penalty. That doesn't give him the right to disregard the Eighth amendment.

Justice John Paul Stevens urged for abolishing the death penalty. That is a state policy decision. Governors know the death penalty is popular with constituents. They aren't about to fuck up their re-election chances.

The Eighth amendment protects prisoners from assault from undue assault and torture from law enforcement and guards. Without the amendment, citizens would be at the mercy of their captors. Conservatives believe it is patriotic to toss the Eight amendment and habeas corpus out. Alberto Gonzales went as far as to argue against habeas corpus.

Conservatives lack the courage to come out and say that they could care less if people suffer when they are executed. Instead, they frame their arguments and make weird analogies. Republicans candidates and op-ed columnists use Dred Scott to talk about abortion. Nevermind, that slavery and abortion have little to do with each other. The majority of voters will reject overturning Roe v. Wade. That is why the GOP uses weird talking points.

A political party has activist judges, but it isn't the Democrats.

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